Sale Of Seized Assets: Lawyer Threatens To Invoke FOI Act Against EFCC
Story By Gbenga Ogunbufunmi
A Lagos based legal practitioner, Mr Olaniyi Adekanla, has vowed to invoke Freedom of Information Act to compel the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to make public, findings on allegation of gross misconduct on sale of public assets in Port Harcourt zonal office of the agency.
Adekanla said the commission must make public outcome of it’s findings on alleged misconduct in the sale of 244 petroleum tankers seized from suspected looters, auctioned in a controversial manner in Port Harcourt zone of the agency.
The lawyer made this known in an address to newsmen, saying the anti-corruption agency should be accountable to Nigerians in its transactions as he noted that war against corruption of the present administration must be driven by incorruptible officers.
He frowned at the emergency of Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa as the Head of the Lagos Zonal Office of the Commission while the world is awaiting his role in the auction of the 244 petroleum tankers in controversial manner while he was at the helm of affairs in the agency’s zonal office in Porthacourt.
Adekanla said Bawa’s appointment contravenes the anti-corruption core values of the EFCC which was the why the agency was established in 2004 by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
” Essentially, the promoters of this institution believed that corruption shall be uprooted and exterminated in our system. Needless to say that this institution has recorded modest achievements in the course of its operation, so far,” he said.
The lawyer however noted that the wheels of the institution has continued to be clogged by “bad eggs” which has been preventing it from achieving its core objectives of curbing and eradicating corruption and impunity in Nigeria.
“Its headship by one Abdulrasheed Bawa is considered inappropriate and a deviance to the gravity of sanitization of corruption which led to the establishment of this organisation, hence an erosion and bastardisation of its moral and functional values.
“For the umpteenth time, Lagos Zone of this institution is too important to be headed by any person carrying stigma of infamy either by allegation or otherwise!
“It is against this fundamental reason I consider the headship of Lagos EFCC Zonal office by Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, a Deputy Chief Detective as inappropriate, otiose, inequitable and inappropriate,” Adekanla said.
Giving a background on the corruption allegations, Adekanla said alleged that under Bawa’s watch, a minimum of 244 petroleum tankers were seized from some suspected looters and were auctioned at “ridiculous prices” to proxies of the EFCC officer.
He said that the trucks were the subject matter of criminal litigation at Federal High Court and that under the law, while forfeiture proceedings are ongoing, no sale of any goods that forms the subject matter of the criminal allegation can be made.
He noted that this action had irked some junior colleagues who wrote anonymous petitions a consequence of which, Bawa was arrested and detained for several days in Port-Harcourt before Mr Ibrahim Magu, former head of the Agency, ordered his transfer to the institution’s training school in Abuja.
“Despite the above catalogued facts, it is unfortunate that Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa was rewarded with the headship of EFCC Lagos Zonal Division.
“I hold that this development is absurd and runs against the fundamental aims and objectives of this institution,” Adekanla said.