Friday, 16 December 2016

The security report that sank EFCC Chairman

The Nigerian Senate practically rejected acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, on Thursday.

Magu's confirmation hearing on the floor of parliament should have gone on without incident, in normal circumstances.

However, during a heated pre-screening session which took place at the office of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, between 9.50am to 11am on Thursday, some lawmakers engaged themselves in a war of words over Magu, During the executive session of the Senate, spokesperson Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, announced the rejection of Magu as EFCC chairman.

Abdullahi cited one 'security report' as reason for Magu's l latest misfortune.

"The Senate wish to inform the public that based on available security report, the Senate cannot proceed with confirmation of Ibrahim Magu as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

"The nomination of Ibrahim Magu is hereby rejected and has been returned to the President for further action,” Abdullahi announced.

Reports say Daura and Magu have endured a frosty relationship in the last couple of months over operational procedures.

Sources in the know have reveals that Daura has been ill at ease with the flamboyant lifestyle and seeming hypocrisy of Magu.

The security report reads in parts: "investigation on the chairmanship of Magu revealed that in August 2008, during the tenure of Farida Waziri as the commission's chairman, some sensitive documents which were not supposed to be at the disposal of Magu were discovered in his house.

"He was subsequently redeployed to the police after days of detention and later suspended from the police force.

"In December 2010, the Police Service Commission (DSC) found Magu guilty of action prejudicial to state security--withholding of EFCC files, sabotage, unauthorised removal of EFCC files and acts unbecoming of a police officer, and awarded him severe reprimand as punishment".

The report added that Magu has been living large in a N40M home--an opulence not commensurate with his emolument as a government employee.

The report also alleged that Magu has been hobnobbing with the corrupt in Nigeria's graft rich landscape.

"Magu is currently occupying a residence rented for N40M at N20M per annum. This accommodation was not paid for from the commission's finances, but by one Umar Mohammed, air commodore retired, a questionable businessman who has subsequently been arrested by the secret service.

"For the furnishing of the residence, Magu enlisted the Federal Capital Development Authority to award a contract to Africa Energy, a company owned by the same Mohammed, to furnish the residence at the cost of N43M.

"Investigations show that the acting EFCC chairman regularly embarked on official and private trips through a private jet owned by Mohammed.

"In one of such trips, Magu flew to Maiduguri alongside Mohammed with a bank MD who was being investigated by the EFCC over complicity in funds allegedly stolen by the immediate past petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

"Furthermore, the EFCC boss has so far maintained a high profile lifestyle. This is exemplified by his preference for first class air travels. On 24 June, 2016, he flew Emirate airlines first class to Saudi Arabia to perform lesser hajj at the cost of N2.9M. This is in spite of Mr. President's directive to all public servants to fly economy class.

"Magu has fostered a beneficial relationship with Mohammed who by his confession approaches clients for possible exploitation, favours and associated returns."

Various sources have also revealed that Magu has long been mired in the corruption he was hired to fight.

"Magu is fantastically corrupt", one source revealed on the basis of anonymity. "He seized one house from someone and was already moving his wares in when he was found out. He abandoned that house and fled..."

Other sources also reveal that Magu has been engaged in the illicit practice of receiving kickbacks from persons his anti-graft commission is supposed to be investigating, in exchange for disappearances of their case files.

"He's not as clean and effective as the public has made him out to be", one Senator says on the basis of anonymity.

There have been suggestions that the lawmakers turned down Magu's confirmation request because he's given some of them--who make no pretences about their favourable disposition toward stealing from the people--a hard time.

All Senators spoken to for this story wouldn't refute or confirm those allegations. None wanted their names on the record as well.

Pulse put calls across through to Magu and EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren for a response to this story, but their phone lines were still switched off at the time of heading to press.

President Muhammadu Buhari first dispatched Magu's name to the Senate for confirmation in July.

Magu replaced Ibrahim Lamorde as boss of the anti-graft commission in November  2015.

He's carried on in an acting capacity since that time.

The senate's decision to reject him is seen as a blow to the President's anti-corruption war, in certain quarters.

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