Newly appointed Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, on Wednesday promised to make a difference in the performance and delivery of the mandate of the antigraft agency by ensuring he would leave of leave a better place at the end of his tenure than what he is assuming.
Mr Bawa was speaking in Abuja at the Senate confirmation of his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari as the substantive Chairman of the EFCC.
Pursuant to Section 2(3) Part 1, CAP E1 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act 2004, President Buhari last week submitted Mr Bawa’s nomination as the Chairman of the antigraft agency to the Senate for confirmation.
During the screening session, Mr Bawa told the lawmakers that he was committed to pursue the mandate of the EFCC to ensure that by the time he would be vacating office at the end of his tenure, he would be leaving a better place than he met it.
He pledged to work in collaboration with other anti-corruption groups around to world to repatriate all Nigeria’s stolen wealth and bring back to the country to better the lot of the people.
“We need to repatriate all our stolen asset for the benefit and betterment of all Nigerians,” he said.
“It is a dream of every patriotic Nigerian to see Nigeria growing to a greater height and I hope and pray that if confirmed, I will live to contribute my quota in seeing that this country is taken to a greater height.
“To our strategic partners around the world, I intend to work with them closely by sharing information in order to attain our mutual and independent objectives,” he added.
The youthful 40-year-old EFCC boss promised to be a worthy representative of the young generation during his tenure.
“I am going to give the young people a very good representation in the governance of this country so that more young people will be given more responsibility in this country,” he said.
Mr Bawa used the occasion to react for the first time about allegations of his indictment, arrest and detention under former acting Chairman Ibrahim Magu over illegal sale of 244 forfeited trucks of petroleum products and other recovered assets to proxies in Port Harcourt when he worked there.
He denied the allegations, saying as head of the Port Harcourt zonal office of the EFCC, he did not have the power to dispose of any recovered property under his supervision.
“I never sold a single truck of recovered petroleum products at the Port Harcourt office. The head office handled that at the time. When I took over in Port Harcourt, the EFCC had 34 convictions. But when I left, we recorded 216 convictions.
On how he would handle pressures from influential individuals, Mr Bawa promised to discharge the responsibilities of his office without fear or favour.
“The issue of political witch-hunt has been against the EFCC since its inception. We are not perfect, but we always try our best.
When it comes to the issues of trial in court, we will engage in media trial. Matters that are in court are already in the public domain. It is not in our control to determine which matter could be published or not.
“At the end of every investigation, files are sent to the Legal Department to see whether or not the investigation warrants going to court. I do state here that we have 90 percent success rate on matters that we have charged to court.
“Before we reposition, we need to know what the institution stands for. We would work on our standard operational procedure to improve on those procedures. We are looking forward to an EFCC that when I give an instruction to a junior officer, he will refuse it because it contravenes the law,” he said.
Mr Bawa holds a Master of Science (M.Sc) degree from the Usman Dan Fodiyo University, Sokoto State. A certified anti-money laundering specialist trained by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the National Crime Agency of the United States and United Kingdom respectively.
He joined the EFCC in 2014, and was trained in the Act of Law Enforcement and Financial Crimes Investigation.