Controversy has continued to trail the appointment of Ola Olukoyede by President Bola Tinubu, as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC).
Daniel Bwala, Abuja based lawyer and member of the People’s Democratic Party, while reacting to the appointment on Thursday, on his X wall, described it as “unlawful and illegal”, adding that “It runs foul of the provisions of Section 2 of the EFCC Act”
Bwala, said the Act provides that the person to be appointed as EFCC Chairman must amongst other things have been “a serving or retired member of any security or law enforcement agency, have 15 years cognate experience of law enforcement, and must not be below the rank of assistant commissioner of police
Bwala however noted that “Olukayode is a private legal practitioner and has never worked or belong to any security or law enforcement agency as a member.
He added that Olukoyede also does not have 15 years cognate experience as a law enforcement officer, even as he stated that the private legal practice years cannot be equated to the rank in law enforcement.
According to him, “Attending seminal courses as a private legal practitioner can equate to 15 years cognate experience contemplated by section 2 of the Act.
“ He only has a stink as Chief of Staff of Magu, the former acting EFCC Chairman and later became a Secretary of the Commission, all of which lasted for less than 6 years”
Recall that President Bola Tinubu had on Thursday named Ola Olukoyede, new Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC).
The President also named Hassan Hammajoda as Secretary of the commission. In a statement, Ajuri Ngelale, the President’s Spokesman, said the President made the appointments in exercise of his powers as prescribed in section 2 (3) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004.
Ngelale, while reacting to Bwala’s position, insisted that Ola Olukoyede remains the new EFCC Chairman, following President Bola Tinubu approval of his appointment in line with Section 2(3) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004.
According to him, “Olukoyede was the Chief of Staff to the Executive Chairman of the EFCC (2016-2018) and Secretary to the Commission(2018-2020). He was a member of a law enforcement organisation as Secretary, in this case the EFCC, as stipulated in the EFCC Act, and as such satisfied every legal detail to be appointed as Chairman.
Ngelale stated that “Section 2(1)(p) of the EFCC Act plainly, ordinarily, and unambiguously established the Secretary to the Commission (i.e., EFCC) as its member and head of its administration.
He also cited the Supreme Court’s case, determined in the case of Ejuetami v. Olaiya & Anor (2001) LPELR-1072 (SC) at Pg.23-24, which states that: “The words used are to be given their ‘ordinary and natural sense’. Therefore the clear, explicit and unambiguous words used in sections 2(1)(a)(i)-(iii), (p), 2(2), 3(1)-(3) and 8(5) of the EFCC Act must be given their ordinary and natural sense in line with the guidelines set by the Supreme Court in its long line of undisturbed judicial precedents”
The President’s Spokesman said the provision of Section 2(1) sub-paragraph (iii) of the EFCC Act did not state the nature of the experience which a person is required to possess its similar or alike for fifteen (15) years.
“This implies that such cognate experience is presumed to be that of the work or functions of the EFCC acquired anywhere since the EFCC Act did not state where it must be acquired. It is also unambiguous by the provisions of subparagraph (iii) that once a person possessed fifteen (15) years of such cognate (i.e., similar or alike) experience, then he has satisfied the provisions of sub-paragraph (iii) of section 2(1)(a) of the EFCC Act.
“ It is clear from the unambiguous provisions of the EFCC Establishment Act, 2004, that any member of the Commission whether serving or retired who has 15 years’ cognate experience in their chosen career are eligible to be appointed as the Chairman of the Commission.
“Prior to this time, the convention and precedence is that to be qualified for appointment as the Executive Chairman of the Commission, the nominee must be a Police Officer or someone with law enforcement background, particularly in the area of investigation. This has not only exposed the Commission to all manner of vices but has brewed internal wrangling, discontent, and hatred among the Commission’s staff members.
Ngelale who also averred that It is nonjusticiable to elevate convention above statutory provision, added that “It is time to move away from fiction to fact and from convention to strict adherence to the statutory provisions of the enabling Act of the Commission in our constitutional democracy.
“Olukoyede satisfied every legal requirement to be appointed as EFCC Chairman” he said
The President’s Spokesman said the appointment followed the resignation of the suspended Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa.
The statement revealed that the President also approved the appointment of Hassan Hammajoda to serve as the Secretary of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for a renewable term of five years in the first instance, pending Senate confirmation.
Hammajoda is a public administrator with extensive experience in public finance management who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Maiduguri and a Masters in Business Administration from the same university.
He began his career as a lecturer at the Federal Polytechnic, Mubi. From there, he went into banking, including successful stints at the defunct Allied Bank and Standard Trust Bank.
President Tinubu tasks the new leadership of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to justify the confidence given to them in this important national assignment as a newly invigorated war on corruption undertaken through a reformed institutional architecture in the anti-corruption sector remains a central pillar of the President’s Renewed Hope agenda.