By Adenike Lucas
The suspension of Nigeria from a crucial world financial intelligence sharing server was first reported by DENISAURUS News.
On May 7, this website reported in an exclusive report that the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, domiciled at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission was “completely shut down” due to sabotage by Ibrahim Mustafa Magu.
Despite, the server based in Toronto Canada, being crucial in the fight against corruption, the group reportedly decided to disable Nigeria’s access to its server, because Mr Magu was using the NFIU, to provide false evidence. A source at the EFCC said that the anti-graft boss was also “exposing privileged information to those who should not be allowed access.”
The “rejected” anti-graft boss who was strategically appointed to cover up corruption cases for a ruling party chieftain has failed to comply with legal regime framework as required by the Egmont group.
“All effort to get the EFCC to comply has been resisted by Mr Magu,” the source said.
In his desperate bid for confirmation, Mr Magu has used highly sensitive information under the NFIU to blackmail people.
Mr Magu’s EFCC has also failed to share financial intelligence with other law enforcement agencies as required by the international standard agency law.
Though the NFIU has always been under the control of the EFCC, the group has now raised concern that the financial intelligence dissemination is now subject to manipulation and lack of credibility.
Staff told DENISAURUS News that the implication of this cut off would be disastrous to the country. It means that Nigeria will no longer have access to data that would help it investigating money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
The acting chairman at the time claimed that “nothing was disconnected as the NFIU continues to enjoy seamless operations,” adding that the author, Adenike Lucas, was operating “an online portal notorious as the propaganda organ for the corrupt elite in Nigeria.”
Mr Magu’s poor assertion about Miss Lucas was rubbished when the Egmont group later confirmed the exclusive story on the suspension in a report which it published on its website.
According to senior staff, who asked not to be named out of fear of reprisal, the anti-graft boss didn’t only “lie” in the press release issued on May 11, he also “deliberately hid the notification of the suspension from The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, AGF, Abubakar Malami, SAN, who by law is his substantive supervisor.”
This meant that “the chance to remedy the problem was ignored until the NASS Senate got involved.”
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However, even after the Senate’s conscientious effort to lift the suspension through the passage of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency, NFIA, bill, Mr Magu is once again deliberately sabotaging the effort of the Federal Government.
DENISAURUS News can reveal that Mr Magu is still using methods to mischievously disrupt the FG’s plans to prevent the country from being expelled from the American financial body based in Canada.
Mr Malami, SAN, alleged that the “corrupt” officer, whose nomination to be the 4th substantive chair of the EFCC was rejected by the Senate due to an indicting report from the Department of State Service did not seem to understand the level of damage he has caused with the suspension. Mr Magu, who is unable to comprehend the magnitude of his action on the country was accused of having “manipulated and misused intelligence to the detriment of the fight against corruption and financial crimes in Nigeria,” by his superior.
“The EFCC is now in a state of paranoia, as it dreads the effort of the government to have an independent NFIU, which it has stood against stoically since 2006.” the statement issued for the AGF by his spokesman, Comrade Salihu Othman Isah states.
“As it presently stands, the NFIU staff are all deployed by the EFCC to serve in the interest of whoever is its current Chairman. This has to stop if it must conform to the new thinking and global best practice. Nigeria cannot be an island of its own. It cannot fight corruption in isolation.
“The threat of expulsion from the Egmont Group calls for a thorough review of the NFIU and the manner in which the EFCC leadership has manipulated and misused intelligence to the detriment of the fight against corruption and financial crime in Nigeria.
“To achieve the desired goal, NFIU needs to stand alone as an agency with full complements of power to recruit its staff and an annual budgetary allocation guaranteed for its operations.
“Its independence must be ascertained in the new law to set up Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency (NFIA) to enable it carry out its mandate, which shall include responsibilities for receiving, requesting, analysing and disseminating financial intelligence reports on money laundering, terrorist financing and other relevant information to law enforcement, security and intelligence agencies, and other relevant authorities.”