The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Sunday faulted a claim that its Chairman-designate, Abdulrasheed Bawa, was illegally promoted to Chief Detective Superintendent (CDS) on Grade Level 14 without regard for public service rules.
It described the allegation, promoted by an online news medium, as “extremely prejudicial, libelous and untrue”.
President Muhammadu Buhari, last Tuesday, appointed Bawa as substantive EFCC Chairman, subject to confirmation by the Senate.
Under Section 2a (ii)(iii) of the EFCC Act, for a nominee to be appointed the commission’s chairman, he/she must “be a serving or retired member of any government security or law enforcement agency, not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) or equivalent; and possess not less than 15 years cognate experience”.
Before the nomination, Bawa was a Deputy Detective Superintendent (DDS) on Grade Level 13 and had spent 16 years in service.
Last Thursday, it was announced that the EFCC had promoted him and 88 others to CDS, Grade Level 14.
The new rank is said to be equivalent to, or almost the equivalent of ACP.
The elevation took effect from January 1, 2021.
The online news medium alleged that the promotion was without regard for public service rules and backdated to March 2020 to correct an error occasioned by Bawa’s nomination for the EFCC top job.
It alleged that this was done to regularise Bawa’s nomination and qualify him for the post before the Senate screening.
But in a statement, the EFCC explained that Bawa and many other officials on his level had been due for promotion for a year but were denied same by the previous leadership of the agency.
It added that the recent promotion began over a year ago.
The EFCC said: “The Chairman-designate is one of the Course 1 cadets of the commission whose promotion has been due for about a year, this notwithstanding their qualification and landmark contributions to the numerous achievements of the commission in the lawful pursuit of its mandates, they were not promoted by the previous leadership of the agency.
“Upon a thorough review of the nominal roles of the commission, the new management found that many core workers have been denied their promotion and thereafter resolved to address this obvious injustice.
“The promotion started more than a year ago, which led to the release of the Batch A list of promoted workers in January, 2021 and the Batch B in February, 2021.”
According to the agency, the promotion of the Course 1 cadets and other officers of the commission followed due process “and has nothing to do with the Senate confirmation of the chairman-designate Abdulrasheed Bawa”.
It added: “The promotion is just one of such normal and regular exercises aimed at boosting the morale of the deserving officers of the commission.
“The public is, therefore, urged to disregard the falsehood being planted in the social and print media by the fifth columnist whose only assignment is to feed the unsuspecting members of the public with false information.
“Though the commission is aware of the fundamental right to freedom of expression, it will, however, strongly condemn and legally pursue the spread of fake and false news.”