The Court of Appeal in Abuja, on Tuesday, reversed the demotion of the former Commandant of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Academy Mr Ayo Olowonihi.
The court affirmed the 26 February 2019 judgment of the National Industrial Court which had upturned Olowonihi’s demotion.
Justice Yargata Nimpar, who read the lead judgment of a panel of the Court of Appeal, held that the lower court was right in declaring as invalid the EFCC’s handbook used in disciplining him as it was not approved by the commission.
The court held that his demotion did not follow due process, therefore, unlawful, illegal and should be set aside.
It upheld the judgment of Justice Musa Kado to the effect that while the chairman of the commission or the secretary had the right to initiate disciplinary proceedings against the claimant, it was the commission that had the power to sanction after due consultation with the Federal Civil Service Commission.
It also affirmed the industrial court’s decision ordering the EFCC to reinstate Olowonihi to his position as Detective Commandant, Grade Level 17.
The EFCC had demoted Olowonihi from Grade Level 17 to 16 Step 7 in 2017, two years after he was recalled from suspension without pay when Ibrahim Magu was the Acting Chairman of the EFCC.
Olowonihi had challenged the treatment meted out to him at the National Industrial Court which granted his prayers.
The EFCC appealed against the judgment but lost at the Court of Appeal on Tuesday.