Nigeria’s president nominates new head of anti-graft agency

PUBLISHED: Tue, 16 Feb 2021 16:21:33 GMT

ABUJA, Feb 16 (Reuters) – Nigeria’s president nominated a career employee to head the country’s anti-graft agency after the previous chief was ousted amid corruption allegations, his office said in a press release on Tuesday.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s nomination of Abdulrasheed Bawa, a regional head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), comes seven months after he suspended previous chief Ibrahim Magu amid allegations that he had diverted funds recovered by the agency into private pockets.

The EFCC is tasked with investigating and prosecuting graft in Africa’s largest oil exporter and its biggest economy, which has grappled with endemic corruption for decades.

If confirmed by the Senate, Bawa will take the reigns of an agency that is leading the investigation into alleged wrongdoing by P&ID, a gas firm with a $10 billion arbitration award that Nigeria is working to overturn, as well as a slew of other high-profile cases.

Earlier this month, the EFCC secured an arrest warrant to compel ExxonMobil’s Nigeria chief to appear before its investigators.

Nigerians blame corruption by the political elite for widespread poverty in the country, which is in its second recession in five years. (Reporting by Camillus Eboh and Felix Onuah, writing by Chijioke Ohuocha Editing by Libby George and and Steve Orlofsky)

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