A civic organisation, Centre for Public Accountability (CPA) and Civil Society Partners, has slammed the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdurasheed Bawa, for allegedly obstructing justice and shielding the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Mr Bashir Jamoh.
The group alleged that the EFCC, under the leadership of Mr Bawa, has refused to carry out a thorough investigation into the alleged diversion of funds, to the tune of N1.5 trillion and $9.8 million by the DG of NIMASA.
Addressing journalists on Wednesday over Bawa’s comprised stand in the case, the group and its CSO partners called on President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the EFCC Chairman to allow the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), to take over Jamoh’s case.
CPA alleged that Bawa’s alleged compromise in the investigation may be connected to the scholarships Mr Jamoh reportedly gave to three siblings of the EFCC Chairman, namely Mustapha Bawa Yusuf, Bawa Hassan Ibrahim and Haruna Mustapha Bawa.
The Executive Director of CPA, Olufemi Lawson, who addressed journalists, stated in the text of the address obtained by SaharaReporters that the group views Bawa’s stands as maladministration and abuse of office.
Olufemi said, “Our focus and address today, is premised on the worrisome involvement of the Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Abdurasheed Bawa, whose actions, and abuse of office, is beginning to constitute an obstruction to the cause of justice.
“We have waited till today to see if the EFCC, under the leadership of Mr Bawa, will do the needful, as challenged by DG NIMASA himself, to carry out a thorough investigation, into the allegations of diversion of funds, amounting to the tune of N1.5 trillion and $9.8 m respectively, but till date, nothing visible to Nigerians, including our independent findings, has been done by the EFCC.
“Recall that on May 21, 2021, an online newspaper, Point Blank published an exclusive story in which the newspaper alleged that the DG of NIMASA, Mr Bashir Jamoh, was involved in some shady deals, ranging from blatant corruption and abuse of office.
“We were pleasantly surprised when the accused Mr Bahir Jamoh openly challenged the EFCC to investigate him and make public his findings.”
Olufemi said regrettably, after more than a year, it has become a hide-and-seek game, as nothing has been heard, from the EFCC.
“It was during this period having followed the allegations with keen interest that we stumbled on reasons, why these allegations against Mr Jamoh, may have been swept under the carpet.
“Curiously, three of the EFCC Chairman’s siblings namely; Mustapha Bawa Yusuf, Bawa Hassan Ibrahim and Haruna Mustapha Bawa are enjoying ‘scholarships’ from Mr Jamoh that the EFCC ought to be investigating at that time. We wonder if this is not corruption and the negotiation for the compromise of the investigation which should have been conducted on Bashir Jamoh; that is, if something is been done in that regard at all.
“The details of how they became beneficiary is in the attached documents. We view this as an act of maladministration and abuse of office from the EFCC chairman whose brothers are being sponsored by an accused that is under his radar.
“We want President Muhammadu Buhari to step into this matter, and direct the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, to take over Bashir Jamoh’s case with the view to get to the root of the matter.
“We also want the National Assembly, especially the Senate to ask the EFCC chairman to step aside, while a thorough investigation is carried out to unravel the mystery behind the ‘scholarships’ given to his siblings.
“We have monitored the EFCC chairman and have discovered that he’s always playing to the gallery instead of facing the task of preventing and fighting corruption headlong.
“To buttress our stand that Abdurasheed Bawa is cherry-picking in his investigations two cases will suffice here:
“You are all aware of the corruption allegations against the Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr Mudashiru Obasa. Apart from the sensational report in the media, up till today, more than two years after, he has not been charged and neither has the case been conclusive.
“Whereas in the case of another Assembly Speaker in nearby Ogun State, Mr Olakunle Oluomo was promptly arrested at the airport and charged to court, by the Bawa-led EFCC. Is this not a case of double standard or cherry-picking depending on who’s involved?
“Without prejudice to the ongoing case, EFCC chairman was in the news for the wrong reason recently when he was sentenced for contempt.
“A judge ruled that a Sport utility Range Rover and N40m be returned to the owner since 2017 and he declined until the judge made that consequential order that he should be arrested and sent to Kuje prison.
“He also did not obey the ruling until he got an appeal court order to vacate the ruling.”