Suspended EFCC chair spends 67 days in DSS custody

fcf abdulrasheed bawa

The suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, has refused to hire a legal representative despite being confined in the custody of the Department of State Services for exactly 67 days since June 14, 2023, sources disclosed to

Bawa, who is currently being held in the custody of the DSS, in Abuja, is being probed for alleged financial impropriety under his watch.

Though the spokesperson for the DSS, Dr Peter Afunnaya, did not respond to an inquiry by our correspondent concerning the development, our correspondent gathered that the suspended EFCC boss refused to answer any queries brought before him by the secret police.

“Bawa has refused to get a lawyer to represent him in court or request for his release from custody on bail. He has also refused to write any statement or answer questions posed to him by several operatives that have queried him in detention,” a source told our correspondent.

In June, the reported that DSS operatives conducted a thorough search of the Abuja home and office of the suspended EFCC boss.

During the week of the search, the DSS also invited Bawa’s close associates in the EFCC for questioning, while the secret police probed them over alleged mismanagement, misappropriation, conspiracy, and diversion of proceeds of sold assets forfeited to the agency.

A source told our correspondent that the search on Bawa’s home in Abuja was carried out on Saturday, June 17, in the presence of his wife and children, adding that his office was also searched on the same day by another set of DSS operatives who presented a search warrant.

“DSS operatives stormed the EFCC Headquarters in Jabi on Saturday to search the office of the suspended chairman. But they presented a search warrant. Another set of DSS operatives also searched Bawa’s home in Gwarinpa, and they net his wife and children in the house during the search.

“Bawa’s close associates at the office were also invited for questioning this week, and they’re being probed on allegations of mismanagement, misappropriation, and diversion of proceeds forfeited assets sold under Bawa’s watch,” the source revealed.

Another government source who pleaded anonymity revealed that the DSS had yet to file charges against the embattled EFCC boss as an investigation is still ongoing.

“The DSS has yet to charge him to court because they’re still carrying out their investigation to get enough evidence to help their case,” the source noted.

Recall that the DSS had earlier obtained an exparte order in June to extend Bawa’s detention in their facility, while they continue with their investigation.

Speaking to , a government source said the move by the DSS was to deter the suspect from filing lawsuits to enforce his fundamental human rights.

The source said, “The DSS obtained an ex parte order from the court during the week to continue the detention of Emefiele beyond 48 hours so that his lawyers would not file a lawsuit claiming that his fundamental rights are being trampled upon. You know he’s not supposed to be detained beyond 48 hours according to the constitution.

“The service also got a similar order on Thursday concerning Bawa’s detention to enable it to conclude interrogation and investigation over the allegations levelled against him.”

Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the DSS, Dr Peter Afunaya, declined comments on the development following an inquiry by

“I have no comments on this, please,” Afunaya said.

However, there were indications that Bawa allegedly collaborated with the suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, to have, among other things, carried out fraudulent deals with some Bureau De Change operators.

It was also noted that Bawa allegedly misappropriated proceeds of assets seized from suspects by the EFCC.

learned that Bawa was arrested and detained by the anti-graft agency in 2019 for allegedly selling at least 244 trucks worth between N20 million and N30 million each to his cronies at the cost of N100,000 per unit, hence depriving the country of about N4.8 billion in potential loot recovery.

Sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, disclosed that the forfeiture proceedings of most of the trucks were yet to be concluded when Bawa allegedly disposed of them.

A source said, “In 2019, Bawa was arrested and questioned over the sale of about 244 trucks that were seized by our Port Harcourt zonal office, where he worked then as zonal head. That case is one of the major reasons why he was suspended and is being investigated.

“He sold the trucks worth between N20m and N30m each to his proxies at N100,000 per unit, depriving the country of about N4.8bn in potential loot recovery.

“This prompted the former EFCC Secretary, Ola Olukoyede, to confront the EFCC boss in 2019, as he was said to have received complaints that Bawa was tampering with assets undergoing forfeiture proceedings. But when Bawa was queried about what happened to the trucks, he claimed that he was acting on the instructions of the former Chairman, Magu, but he never wrote that in his statement.”

Another source privy to the matter revealed that the allegation by the former governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle, of a demand for a $2m bribe by Bawa was one of the reasons for the ongoing investigation against him.

In May 2023, the former Governor of Zamfara state, Bello Matawalle, accused Bawa of demanding a $2m bribe from him. Matawalle made the allegation during an interview with BBC Hausa amid an ongoing rift between the governor and the anti-graft agency.

The source said, “You’re very much aware that Matawalle also accused the chairman of demanding a $2m bribe from him. That’s also part of the allegations levelled against him that led to his suspension.

“Also, there’s an allegation that Bawa collaborated with the suspended CBN governor, Emefiele, in some fraudulent dealings with Bureau De Change operators.”