Nigeria’s anti corruption czar AbdulRasheed Bawa suspended by the president and detained by the security service following election of senate president who was accused of N147B theft
The Nigerian anti-corruption agency the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) chairman AbdulRasheed Bawa has been suspended indefinitely according to a Federal Government circular published Wednesday.
The 43 year old was subsequently arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS) and detained on national security grounds.
In the Federal Government statement, Bawa was accused of abusing his office and use of the EFCC as a political tool.
“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”, the statement signed by Willie Bassey
Director, Information at the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, said.
His removal comes after the suspension of Godwin Emefiele as Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor and directed to immediately hand over the affairs of his office to a Deputy Governor.
Bawa was directed to handover to Director of Operation, Mohammed Aba pending the conclusion of the investigation.
CP Abba was seconded to the Commission in January 2016 to head the Counterterrorism and General Investigations, CTGI, Section at the EFCC headquarters in Abuja.
President said this is to allow for a thorough investigation into his conduct while in office following “weighty allegations ” of abuse of office against him.
Earlier on Wednesday, he had met President Bola Tinubu at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in a closed door meeting.
His suspension immediately came after the meeting. Hours later the DSS issued a statement inviting him to report to the nearest DSS station.
According to a statement by the DSS, “the invitation relates to some investigative activities concerning him.”
The statement by Peter Afunanya, the Public Relations Officer of DSS, was tweeted via the agency’s Twitter handle at 10.48 pm on Wednesday.
It said Bawa “arrived for interrogation a few hours ago.” It said that Bawa is being interrogated at the DSS headquarters in Abuja the nation capital.
Following his abrupt ouster, unconfirmed reports say that his ouster as the EFCC chief was due to the election of the Senator Godswill Akpabio of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) as Senate President.
Akpabio a two term governor of Akwa Ibom state in south eastern Nigeria and former minister of Niger Delta Affairs in the Buhari administration had been accused of theft amounting to N147 billion by the EFCC.
Last month, the immediate-past governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle, accused Bawa of demanding $2 million as a bribe from him.
But the EFCC denied Matawalle’s allegation.
The anti-corruption agency in May revealed that Matawalle was being investigated by it for a N70 billion fraud.
Two weeks ago a confrontation ensued between DSS and EFCC over their shared building at 15 Awolowo road in Ikoyi Lagos.
During that standoff, SSS operatives blocked EFCC staff members from resuming work in the building in the hours-long stand-off which took place 30 May.
Since it was activated in 2003, the agency has been embroiled in controversies. It did not prosecute Tinubu when he was accused of corruption after serving as two term governor. Tinubu was later charged by a sister agency and acquitted by a code of conduct tribunal in 2011.
Bawa’s predecessor Ibrahim Magu, was suspended from office by former President Muhammadu Buhari, over allegations of corruption.
Bawa became the second major appointee of former President Muhammadu Buhari to be suspended by Tinubu.
Akowe with reports form Abuja