President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has suspended the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr AbdulRasheed Bawa, with immediate effect. The President, in a statement signed by the Director of Information in the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, said Bawa’s removal would be indefinite, to allow for investigation into his conduct in office. The statement said the suspension followed “a weighty allegation of abuse of office leveled against him.”
It would be recalled that some anti-corruption chiefs have previously been suspended for abuse of office and never returned to their positions. A recent case was AbdulRasheed Bawa’s immediate past substantive predecessor, Ibrahim Magu, who never got back his seat.
Section 3 (2) of EFCC Act 2004 stipulates that: “A member of the Commission may at any time be removed by the President for inability to discharge the functions of his office (whether arising from infirmity of mind or body or any other cause) or for misconduct or if the President is satisfied that it is not in the interest of the Commission or the interest of the public that the member should continue in office.” The Act says nothing about suspension of the Chairman. The Chairman is deemed a member of the Commission as the Act makes no special provision for him.
Last November, Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa did tell news reporters that the number of Governors his agency was keeping an eye on had increased. He did not state how many Governors he was watching, but he had been engaged in legal battles with Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello over seizure of properties alleged to belong to the Governor and which allegedly were proceeds misappropriation.
Full text of the press release:
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERATION
14th June, 2023
PRESIDENT BOLA AHMED TINUBU SUSPENDS BAWA INDEFINITELY FROM OFFICE AS CHAIRMAN ECONOMIC & FINANCIAL CRIMES COMMISSION
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu,GCFR, has approved the indefinite suspension from office of Mr. AbdulRasheed Bawa, CON, as the Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to allow for proper investigation into his conduct while in office.
2. This follows weighty allegations of abuse of office levelled against him.
3. Mr Bawa has been directed to immediately handover the affairs of his office to the Director, Operations in the Commission, who will oversee the affairs of the Office of the Chairman of the Commission pending the conclusion of the investigation.