By Adenike Lucas and Danjuma Aliyu DENISAURUS News
President Muhammadu Buhari had after inauguration in May 2015, put up his three cardinal priority for Nigeria which includes; Economy, Security and War Against Corruption. Upon this backdrop, Mr President in December 2016, initiated a very vital policy that will aid the success of his anti-graft war,’ which is the ‘Whistleblower Policy.’
As would be expected, championing this policy of government were the main anti-graft agencies; Nigeria Police, NPF; Independent Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Commission ICPC; Economic And Financial Crimes Commission EFCC among all others.
With the steady progress of the new policy by the Buhari administration, there has been several attempts by whistleblowers to cash into this lucrative opportunity, coupled with the Federal Government’s incentive of 2% – 5% for prospective whistleblowers.
It was however, funny when staff members of the EFCC began to get the brunt attack from their boss for allegedly blowing the whistle on their own agency.
A letter from the Director Organisation Support dated 22 December 2015, accused some staff members of writing articles such as “the decay and rot in the EFCC,” to President Muhammadu Buhari – detailing the corruption perpetuated during the reign of Ibrahim Lamorde.
In November 2015, the former EFCC boss was dismissed due to a result of a corruption case against the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, chairman, Danladi Umar.
Following his sack, Mr Larmode was required to hand over to Mr Magu, who he had worked closely with while at the Commission.
Our source revealed that in order to appease Mr Lamorde (who was instrumental in Mr Mr Magu’s return to the EFCC, following his suspension for corruption by his former boss, Farida Waziri), Mr Magu ordered the immediate suspension of the suspected whistleblowers in the EFCC.
Surprisingly, if the FG’s whistleblowing policy is anything to believe, these employees should have been rewarded – assuming it can be proven that they were the ones who leaked the information that exposed corruption at the agency.
Instead, Mr Magu has placed them on a perpetual suspension.
DENISAURUS News gathered that, despite the existing EFCC Staff regulation, which provided laid down rules on the handling of such cases or situations, Mr Magu single handedly stopped all the salaries and allowances of the operatives, by suspending them with impunity.
Our source further stated that to aggravate the whole ‘charade’ which Mr Magu orchestrated, the anti-graft boss used some media allies to allude that the operatives wanted to chase away all the seconded policemen, who had overstayed their stipulated secondment years.
More so, in another effort to further subject the suspended operatives to even more unpalatable conditions, an insider revealed that Mr Magu went as far as taking their phones abroad, for a forensic analysis.
The aim was basically, to ensure that something incriminating is found and used by the anti-graft boss to tarnish the image of the operatives.
A memo EFCC/P/HR/… confirmed that an investigation was logged at the Federal Civil Service Commission, FCSC, against the accused workers.
Fortunately, Mr Magu’s request to the FCSC, seeking their help on how to unjustly criminalise and indict the said operatives failed.
We discovered that Mr Magu was advised and warned by the FCSC to immediately recall the operatives, as all actions so far against them had been floored with impunity and undue process.
Till date, the anti-graft boss has lent a deaf ears to all warnings and counselling, regarding his immature actions.
Worst of all, not satisfied with his actions, Mr Magu proceeded to the Presidency with a false narration, claiming that the said operatives were involved in “espionage,” in order to paint a demeaning picture that the Federal Government so that he is given the go ahead to strangulate them.
Unfortunately, when Mr Magu could not juxtapose or articulate such grievous allegations and claims, he was ignored by the Presidency.
Today, these operatives have been subjected to untold hardship by Mr Magu, For over 24 months, inspite of the effort made by an Appointment, Promotion And Disciplinary Committee, APDC, to call the anti-graft boss to order, over the continuous impunity, not following the rule book on the said matter, Mr Magu refuses to listen reason.
Rather, our source revealed that anyone who attempts to correct Mr Magu, is usually meted with one victimisation or the other, including Top Management Staff of the anti-graft agency.
According our source, to perpetrate and carry out his vindictiveness and vendetta against the said operatives, on behalf of himself and Mr Lamorde, Mr Magu went as far as reshuffling the Directors in various Departments who based on EFCC Staff Regulation, happened to be bonafide members of the fact finding APDC. The main motive behind it, was that all other previous management staff, were sympathetic to the impunity plight which the anti-graft boss had long subjected the operatives.
Worthy of note, is the most crude action by Mr Magu, of wanting to teleguide the Committee saddled with the handling of such administrative matters. One of such instances, was that the anti-graft boss insisted that the Committee alters its earlier report, which exonerated the operatives from any infraction or crime.
Instead of recalling the operatives back to work, Mr Magu asked that some illegal “conditions” (See picture below) be given to them, so as to frustrate the operatives into resigning from the EFCC, just as other Senior Management Staff and Directors had resigned in the past, due to Mr Magu’s high-handedness.
Most importantly, we were able to gather, that among these operatives which Mr Magu had suspended with impunity, for over two years, is one of the most senior management director, who happened to be higher in rank than the anti-graft boss.
A staff, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, explained that Mr Magu became so jittery over the Core Management Director, for fear that should the Presidency become aware, he may be slated for the EFCC Chairmanship Position. Hence the unjust victimisation by Mr Magu.
Presently, our source revealed that virtually all the EFCC staff members, have been demoralised by the actions and impunity of Mr Magu, thereby killing their enthusiasm for the anti-graft war.
What is the sins of these operatives to Mr Magu? They were exposing all the ‘corruption and impunity’ that blossoms under the leadership of erstwhile EFCC Chairman, Mr Lamorde and the current boss, Mr Magu.
This goes to show that, there are a lot of human factors, constituting obstacles to the anti-graft “whistle blowing policy” of the government in particular, and the corruption fight in general.
The EFCC under the leadership of Mr Magu, had made several claims to championing this whistleblowers policy of Government. However, many Nigerians have been asking questions over the claims by Mr Magu, to have discovered several millions both in Local and Foreign Currencies.
Questions being raised, include among others, who were actually the owners of some “Ghost Monies” discovered by the EFCC. As expectations and rational reasoning, suggests that whoever that is blowing Whistle, should to a large extent, if not entirely, be aware of the owner or whoever must have stash such cash in locations they were discovered.
Some among the cash that were discovered by the EFCC under Mr Magu, includes Former NNPC GMD Andrew Yakubu of about $9,000,000.00, Kaduna Airport Discovery of over N49,000,000.00, Lagos Shopping Plaza discovery of about N500,000,000.00, Ikoyi, Osborne discovery of about $43,000,000.00 and the list goes on and on.
Apart from that of NNPC Ex-GMD Andrew Yakubu, and a later discovery at the Osborne Tower Ikoyi Lagos, all others alluded to have been discovered through the ‘Whistle Blower Policy’, none of the cash did we know the owners. Some Nigerians have actually been questioning, if the cash were really discovered through whistle blowing, and not planted to show the public that work is in progress.
Our now concern is, “who watches the anti-graft agency on the issue of ‘corruption and impunity’? Possibly, the Federal Government “Whistle Blowers Policy” is not applicable to the Mr Magu led EFCC, but it may work for other Nigerians and Ministries Department And Agencies, MDAs.