EFCC Chief Sent To Kuje Prison For Contempt- Court
Abdulrasheed Bawa, Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has been jailed by a Kogi State High Court for defying a court order.
The court also ordered Bawa to be arrested and held in kuje prison for the following 14 days while he atones for his contemptuous behavior.
In his decision on Monday, Justice R.O. Ayoola of the Kogi State High Court approved the EFCC chairman’s request to be committed to prison for ignoring a court order issued on November 30, 2022, ordering him to produce the case’s applicant, Ali Bello.
Ali Bello had dragged Bawa to court for arresting and detaining him illegally, with the court ruling in his favour, only for the EFCC to arraign him for alleged money laundering three days after the ruling.
The EFCC’s applications for setting aside a stay of execution of the ruling were refused for want of merit.
The Court had, in Form 49, Order IX, Rule 13, marked: “HCL/697M/2022” and titled: “Notice to Show Cause Why Order of Committal Should not be Made,” asked the EFCC Chairman to appear before it on January 18, 2022 to explain why he should not be jailed for flouting the order given on December 12, 2022 in a case filed by Ali Bello against EFCC and Bawa, as the 1st and 2nd respondents, respectively.
The motion of notice and Form 49 were to be served via substituted methods on the EFCC and Bawa, the court ruled.
The court had ruled that the applicant’s arrest and detention were unlawful, unconstitutional, and in violation of the applicant’s right to personal liberty and dignity under Chapter IV of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 Constitution because they were made in defiance of an existing court order and without a warrant of arrest “or being informed of the offence for which he was arrested” (as amended).
The court also mandated that the respondents apologize to the petitioner in a major publication and granted him N10 million in damages.
The Form 49, issued on December 15, 2022, and addressed to Bawa read, “Take notice that the Applicant will on the 18th day of January, 2023 at the hour of 9 o clock in the forenoon or so soon thereafter, apply to this Court for an order for your committal to prison for having disobeyed the order of this Court made on 12th day of December, 2022 that:
“That arrest and detention of the Applicant on the 29th November, 2022 by the 1st and 2nd Respondents in the face of a subsisting Court Order made by a Court of competent jurisdiction and without a warrant of arrest or being informed of the offence for which he was arrested is unlawful, unconstitutional and contravenes the Applicant’s right to personal liberty and dignity of human person guaranteed under Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Articles 5 and 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
“Perpetual injunction restraining the Respondents, their agents, servants, privies, or however called from further arrest, detention, harassment and intimidation of the Applicant .
“An order directing the Respondents to tender an apology to the Applicant in any of the National Daily having nationwide coverage for the illegal detention and harassment of the Applicant.
“An Award of the sum of Ten Million Naira as general damages jointly and severally against the Respondents for the unlawful detention and harassment of the Applicant.”
Today’s ruling followed an application by Counsel to Ali Bello, S. A. Abass. Esq.