Bawa: EFCC Has Recorded 3,440 Convictions in 2022

*As court jails Senator Akpan for 42yrs over money laundering 

*YPP governorship hopeful appeals ruling 

Okon Bassey in Uyo and Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano 

Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa,yesterday, disclosed that the Commission recorded 3440 convictions on financial and cyber crimes across the country from January to November 2022. 

This is as the governorship candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP) in Akwa Ibom State, Senator Bassey Albert Akpan, has been convicted by the Federal High Court, Uyo, of money laundering and sentenced to 42 years in prison.

But the candidate has immediately appealed the ruling, saying the ruling would be upturned soon, even as he appealed to his supporters to remain calm.

The EFCC chairman, who was represented by the Kano Zonal Commander, Farouk Dogondaji, spoke while delivering a goodwill message during a one-day workshop on financial crimes reporting organised by the EFCC for journalists.

Bawa also stated that the commission would work to ensure the enforcement of the Electoral Act as the 2023 general election approached. 

His words: “In terms of prosecution of cases in court, I am glad to inform you that, between January and November 25, this year, EFCC recorded 3440 convictions. The potentials for improvement are good as more ongoing cases are concluded in the remaining four weeks of the year. 

“Remarkable as this feat is, we are not resting on our laurels. We believe there is still a lot to be done, which is the reason we are actively seeking the support of all stakeholders, including the media..

“On our part, we are working in close collaboration with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and other stakeholders to preserve the integrity of the electoral process. We will ensure that the Electoral Act is fully enforced and those who seek to influence voters through financial inducement are brought to justice” he added.

He described journalists as critical allies, who are at the workshop to improve their capacity to be able to help in the fight against cyber and financial crimes in the country. 

Delivering her paper on the “Challenges of Prosecuting Economic and Financial Crimes in Nigeria”, the deputy director, Legal and Prosecution, Aisha Habib Tahar, gave a breakdown of both civil and criminal convictions achieved by the Kano zone. 

She stated that they have had 160 criminal convictions, losing only two and 180 civil convictions losing only one in Kano State, a situation, which according to her, put the conviction rates at over 90 per cent.

Meanwhile, Justice Agatha Okeke convicted the YPP gubernatorial candidate, did on the six count charge bordering on money laundering and graft. The maximum sentence for each count is fourteen years. 

The judge pronounced that he was to serve seven years for each of the six count but to run concurrently reducing it to 21 years.

Without any option of fine, the court directed that Akpan should return the sum of 204 million naira as restitution to the federal government after serving the sentence.

The Defence counsel, Solomon Offiong (SAN), pleaded with the court to temper Justice with mercy by including an option of fine.

But the plea was opposed by EFCC that took the case to court, citing legal authority to convince the court not to give fine as an option particularly, in the light of the fact that the court has not opted for the maximum sentence.

But the campaign organisation of Akpan, in a statement by the Chairman, Campaign Council, Sir Emem Akpabio, described the judgement as judicial absurdity in its rarest form, because justice was turned on its head, just to please the powers that be in the state.

“That Justice Agatha Okeke of the Federal High Court, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, could so decide to enter judgement against Senator Bassey Albert Akpan, in a suit where his innocence was glaringly obvious from day one that the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) instituted it, is absolutely a travesty of justice. 

“We, therefore, reject and condemn it in its etireity. The dust it has stirred against the judiciary would only be redeemable by a reversal,” he said, adding that as a group of responsible persons fully guided by law, it has “resolved to follow up the outcome with philosophical calmness. 

According to the statement, the party would take necessary steps to redress the judgement through appeal and “we are sure that the grievous wrong will be corrected.”

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