From FRED ITUA, Abuja
chairman-designate of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abduralsheed Bawa, yesterday, hinted that thousands of policemen may be deployed out of the Commission when he assumes office.
“The issue of secondment is based on needs. We will review the process. If the need arises for us to retain policemen, we will. Otherwise, we will return them,” he said.
The 40-year old lawyer and pioneer staff of the EFCC, who will be the first person outside the police to head the Commission, stated this when he appeared before the Senate for his confirmation hearing.
After being grilled for over two hours, he was confirmed as the fourth substantive chairman of the EFCC.
He joined the Commission in 2004.
Bawa was nominated last week by President Muhammadu Buhari following the suspension of Ibrahim Magu, who acted as chairman until July 2020.
Before his nomination, Bawa headed Ibadan, Port Harcourt and Lagos zonal offices.
“We will rid the country of corruption and any form of economic sabotage. We will repatriate all stolen funds to Nigeria. We will use these funds to make Nigeria better. We have tried to enforce the various laws. However, there are pitfalls. We are humans too.
“We will work on our standard operational procedures. We will curtail the use of excessive powers. We need an EFCC where a junior officer can refuse an order if it is against the law. We will be more transparent and more open. We know there are issues surrounding the management of assets recovered. We will digitalise the process to avoid any pitfalls. We will work on a proactive approach rather than reactive approach,” he said.
Bawa denied claims selling off recovered assets when he held sway as Port Harcourt zonal head. He also denied claims that he was arrested by Magu over alleged sales of recovered assets.
He said he would deliver his duties without fear or intimidation. He denied claims that the EFCC was involved in media trial, insisting that any cases in court cannot be controlled.
During the screening, Senators urged him to focus on fraud prevention rather than prosecution. They also warned against politicisation of the anti-graft war.
Senate leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, while speaking, said some issues surrounding the operation of the EFCC must be addressed. None of the former EFCC chairmen completed their tenures without controversies. He urged the nominee to run the Commission with fairness.
Bala Ibn Na’Allah, urged the nominee not to be used and misused by political office holders. He said his performance would give youths more opportunities to showcase what they can do if given the chance.