Senate to screen EFCC chairman nominee, Bawa, in plenary

The screening of Abdulrasheed Bawa, the newly appointed substantive chairman of Nigeria’ anti-graft agency, EFCC, will be done in plenary.

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, made this known, after he read President Muhammadu Buhari’s letter to the Senate at the start of plenary on Tuesday.

“Distinguished colleagues, the screening of the EFCC chairman, designate, will be done in plenary, as is our tradition here,” he said.

In the letter, Mr Buhari communicated his decision to appoint the 40 year-old Bawa as the new EFCC boss and sought the Senate’s confirmation. The appointment, the president said, is in accordance with Paragraph 2(3) of Part1, CAP E1 of EFCC Act 2004.

The president’s media aide, Femi Adesina, who made the first announcement on Tuesday, said the nominee is a trained EFCC investigator with vast experience in the investigation and prosecution of Advance Fee Fraud cases, official corruption, bank fraud, money laundering, and other economic crimes.

“He has undergone several specialised training in different parts of the world, and was one of the pioneer EFCC Cadet Officers in 2005. He holds a B.Sc degree in Economics, and Masters in International Affairs and Diplomacy.”

Although no date was announced for the screening, the nominee is expected to appear before lawmakers in the Red Chamber where they will grill him regarding his capacity to serve.

The last EFCC nominee to be screened in plenary is the suspended ex-chairman, Ibrahim Magu, by the eight Senate. Mr Magu was screened twice by the Saraki-led Senate and his nomination was rejected on both occassions on grounds that he lacked the integrity to lead the country’s anti-graft agency.

This was due to two contradicting reports submitted by the SSS – one supporting his confirmation and another, rejecting it. He however, went on to serve as Acting chairman for five years.

Bawa will take over from Mr Magu, who was arrested in July in front of the EFCC Wuse II office, driven to the Presidential Villa and was also detained for more than four days, on the directive of the panel.

His arrest and detention were based on allegations levelled against him by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.

Magu was thereafter suspended in July after five years as acting EFCC chairperson.

He was accused of purchasing a property in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates through a Nigerian cleric, Emmanuel Omale, among other allegations.

A Judicial Commission of Enquiry under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act (Cap T21, LFN, 2004), had since been set up for the investigation of the activities of the EFCC from May 2015 to May 2020.

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