Exclusive: By Adenike Lucas
A few days ago, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo granted an interview where he stated that the Acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, did not require to be screened by the Senate for him to head the agency.
Twice, Ibrahim Mustafa Magu was rejected by the Senate due to a report it received from the Department of State Services, DSS.
During his screening on March 2017, Mr Magu failed to defend the allegations made against him.
A long investigation carried out by DENISAURUS News showed that Mr Magu was a corrupt officer.
EFCC workers said their boss was desperate to become the 4th substantive chairman; he was deliberately sabotaging the corruption fight. The DSS report confirmed our report.
This newspaper was the first to reveal details of the DSS report and a call was made for the report to be made public.
This call was first made by Adenike Lucas, the Editor of DENISAURUS News and later backed by members of the upper chamber.
In his recent interview, Professor Osinbajo said the DSS report that puts Mr Magu has a “liability” to the anti-corruption fight, was not weighty enough to warrant his sack.
Professor Osinbajo who shares a similar view as another lawyer Femi Falana, SAN, went on to declare full support for Mr Magu.
Nigeria’s second in command, who this media house had boldly revealed to be one of the biggest supporter of “corrupt” Mr Magu, claimed that the Nigerian Constitution overrides the EFCC Act which is not true.
Mike Odeholonta has taken out time to explain the EFCC Act 2004.
‘Understanding The EFCC Act 2004’ – By Mike Odeholonta
I commend to the Prof. and Falana the provisions of Section 153(1) and S.154(1) of the Constitution which provide for the “ESTABLISHMENT” of certain federal executive bodies which EFCC is not among. The appointment of the members of these bodies are to be made by the president subject to the confirmation of the senate as provided in S.154(1) of the Constitution.
Juxtaposing the provisions of the above sections with the provisions contained in Section 171 of the Constitution, it is crystal clear that the appointment of the EFCC chairman was not contemplated under this section as part of the offices excluded from the confirmation of the senate under Section 171(2).
The instructive key under the provisions of Section 171(1) is the word “APPOINT” and nowhere was the president given the power under this section to “ESTABLISH” any office.
So, which law creates and provides for the membership of the EFCC then? May I quickly point out that to see or liken the EFCC to an “extra ministerial department” is begging the question and highly preposterous as such argument lacks any legal basis. The EFCC is not known by law or fact to be a federal ministry or department in a federal ministry. Equally, the chairman of the EFCC is not responsible to any minister stricto senso.
Pertinently, also, going by the provisions of Section 171(6), the tenure of office of the chairman as provided under S.3 of the EFCC Act 2002, does not fall among that of the offices stated under Section 171(2) of the Constitution that are at the pleasure of the president and shall cease when the president ceases to hold office.
Now going back to which law creates or established the EFCC. It is the enactment of the national assembly referred to as the EFCC Act of 2002. It is this Act and not the Constitution that established the efcc by its Section 1 and provided for the composition of its membership in Section 2 of the Act.
Section 2(3) of the EFCC Act went on to provide that the chairman and the members of this commission shall be appointed by the president subject to the confirmation of the senate.
Furthermore, for argument sake, one may also ask, where does the senate or the national assembly derive this power to enact the EFCC Act? This can be found in Section 4(1-3) of the extant Constitution which vested the legislative powers to make laws for the Nigerian federation in the national assembly.
Meanwhile, Section 5(a) & (c) of the same Constitution mandates the president in the exercise of his power to execute and implement all laws made by the national assembly like the EFCC Act. I don’t have any hesitation, therefore, to state that the president and the VP will be committing an impeachable offence by wilfully refusing to comply with the EFCC Act on the requirement of getting the confirmation of the senate for their appointee to the office of chairman of the EFCC.