The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed a motion appealing the Appeals Court ruling sentencing Its Chairman, Abubakar Bawa to prison.
The commission, in a motion before the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, also asked for a stay of execution of the judgment of the Kogi State High Court delivered on December 12, 2022, and the consequential order made on February 6, 2023, in the suit between the commission and Ali Bello.
In the February 6 judgment, Justice Rukayat Ayoola of the Kogi State High Court granted the application for committal to prison of the EFCC chairman, AbdulRasheed Bawa for disobeying an earlier court order made on December 12, 2022.
The court also directed the Inspector-General of Police to arrest Mr Bawa and remand him in Kuje prison, Abuja, for the next 14 days.
In the December 12 ruling, the court held that the arrest and detention of Mr Bello on November 29, 2022, by the EFCC and its chairman in the face of an earlier subsisting court order without a warrant of arrest or being informed of the offence for which he was arrested is “unlawful and unconstitutional”.
Ali Bello, a nephew to the Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, who is allegedly involved in a N10 billion fraud, had dragged Mr Bawa to court for arresting and detaining him illegally, despite a court ruling in his favour, only for the EFCC to arraign him for alleged money laundering three days after the ruling.Mr
But in a statement by EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, the Commission said it was seeking a stay of the execution of the judgment committing Mr Bawa to prison as well as an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the appellants from attempting to enforce the judgment of the trial Court, pending the final hearing and determination of the appeal.
In the supporting affidavit to the application deposed to by Samuel Anele Ugwuegbulam on behalf of the commission, it is affirmed that the Appellants have “strong, good and arguable grounds of appeal”.
The EFCC, among other things, also submitted that the trial court in Kogi did not have jurisdiction to entertain the matter as the alleged infringement of the respondent’s (Ali Bello’s) fundamental human rights occurred in Abuja, and no element of it took place in Lokoja.
The EFCC also submitted that, “If the execution of the judgment of the 12th of December, 2023 and the pronouncement of the trial Court of 6th of February, 2023 is not stayed, it will jeopardize the commission’s constitutional right of appeal and exercise of Bawa’s statutory functions.”
Writing by Oluwaseyi Ajibade; Editing by Abdullahi Lamino and Tony Okerafor