Suspended EFCC Chair Spends 33 Days In DSS Custody

Abdulrasheed Bawa, EFCC Chairman

The suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, has spent 33 days in the custody of the Department of State Services.

The secret police arrested Bawa on June 14, hours after his suspension by President Bola Tinubu.

The Director of Information, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Willie Bassey, in a statement announcing Bawa’s suspension, cited  “weighty allegations of abuse of office levelled against him” as the reason for the President’s decision.

Since his arrest, the DSS has kept mum on the specific offences for which Bawa was arrested, the level of investigation and whether charges would be filed against him in court.

A statement by the DSS spokesperson, Peter Afunanya, shortly after Bawa’s suspension  on June 14, said the embattled EFCC chair arrived at the facility of the DSS in response to an invitation.

“The Department of State Services has invited Abdulrasheed Bawa, the suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. Bawa arrived a few hours ago. The invitation relates to some investigative activities concerning him,” the DSS spokesman had said.

The PUNCH reported that days after the arrest, the DSS searched Bawa’s house and office in Abuja.

Several calls to Afunanya on Monday to get an update on the matter were not answered. He also did not respond to a text message sent to his line by our correspondent.

Commenting on the continued detention of Bawa, an Abuja-based human rights lawyer, Pelumi Olajengbesi, said it was illegal for the DSS to keep Bawa in detention without trial.

He said,  “Without any contradiction, the continued detention of Bawa by the secret police for over three weeks now is unconstitutional and a breach of the fundamental rights of the detainee.

“Illegality cannot beget another illegality. The DSS should immediately release Bawa to rejoin his family members without further delay, or charge him to court to face charges preferred against him by the Federal Government. Anything outside these two options is alien to law and won’t stand.”

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