By Danjuma Aliyu, Editorial Director
Let’s give credit where it is due – The rejection of Ibrahim Mustafa Magu as the fourth substantive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, was one of the best decision the eighth Senate ever took.
DENISAURUS News, has spoken directly with past and present members of staff at the commission and they say their boss is an extremely corrupt man, who is bleeding the agency.
If a man is destroying a good thing, isn’t it a wise thing to stop him? The man here is Mr Magu and the good thing he is destroying is one of our most respected anti-corruption agency, the EFCC.
The latest evidence supporting the Senate’s correct decision on Mr Magu’s nomination comes from a resounding young lawyer, Shehu Bashir ( @shehufaa ).
Mr Bashir, a former EFCC staff, believes that Mr Magu is an example of a chairman the anti-corruption agency should never have had.
He and other staff have accused the Borno born Deputy Commissioner of Police of engaging in pay roll fraud and destroying staff morale.
According to Mr Bashir, the EFCC boss carried out an illegal recruitment exercise and “was asked to submit the Commission’s Nominal Roll.”
Explaining the cover up, Mr Bashir said it was “an attempt to hide the fact that he has been paying illegal salaries to ghost workers and committing serious financial crimes.”
This newspaper had previously raised an alarm on how Mr Magu was diverting funds through the training of new cadets.
Instead of using a suitable EFCC Adacemy in Karu, the anti-graft boss is spending lavishly at the Nigeria Defence Academy, NDA in Kaduna.
We understand that after needlessly sending new recruits to the NDA for training to “militarise” them, Mr Magu is now going to spend another millions to “demilitarise” them at the EFCC Academy in Karu.
In Mr Bashir’s own words: “Mr Magu is a singular intellectual and operational disaster unconsciously brought and retained to do the job. He is destroying everything EFCC stands for, a misfit and misplaced priority of the highest order, creating an indelible mark of destruction in that Commission.”
Things are so bad, staff have written several petitions to the Senate and President Muhammadu Buhari. The Attorney General of Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami’s office is inundated with petition from internal staff and other international partners.
The APC Government rode in with the promise to kill corruption, but two and a half years into its administration and no Politically Exposed Persons, PEP has been convicted.
How can it convict PEPs when a lame duck has been put in charge of investigations at the EFCC.
Today, the press reported that Mr Magu filed unrealistic charges in the $1.1 billion Malabu Oil fraud.
Mr Magu did so despite being given clear directive not to do so in a memo marked DPPA/FMPR/108/17 from Mr Malami, SAN.
Mr Magu, either deliberately or out of lack of foresight omitted the names of key suspect from the fraudulent sale of the oil block.
Consequently, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) told Mr Magu in the memo: “to reconsider the charges in relation to the composition of the parties, the offences, the proof of evidence and the case summary, in view of the fact that nothing in the proof of evidence appear to have directly linked the parties to the offences charged.”
Until Mr Magu does this, there is no realistic chances of getting those involved in this scam.
The gloomy picture of Nigeria’s anti-corruption fight does not end there. Thanks to Mr Magu, Nigeria can’t attend any event held by Egmont, a network of 156 financial intelligence units FIUs, as the NFIU is currently suspended.
Adenike Lucas, the editor of DENISAURUS News, reported the suspension of the NFIU exclusively in May 2017. Then the EFCC chair lied and refused to inform his supervisory boss about the problem.
The anti-corruption boss has witnessed a loss in staffings. Some left the commission thinking their SOS petition fell on deaf ears.
The Senate on its part rejected the nomination of Mr Magu and has passed a resolution not to confirm any new nominees from the Executive until the 53-year-old is replaced.
Mr Bashir makes the argument for Mr Magu’s removal by saying a man described by the Secret police as a “liability to the corruption fight,” is not in “anyway a suitable anti-graft boss needed at the agency in this crucial period.”
It should go without saying that Mr Magu currently enjoys the full support of the Vice President. He also has the support of Babagana Monguno, the National Security Adviser, who happens to be from his state.
Professor Yemi Osinbajo, a law professor, has a full file of cases ranging from the N300 Million NFIU scam – to the deceptive scheme against an House of Rep member, on Mr Magu.
The VP is dead wrong to continue to support Mr Magu, considering what he knows and judging by the amount of damage that could emerge if Nigeria is expelled from Egmont as a result of Mr Magu’s leak of confidential documents.
The Upper Chamber has responded by passing the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency, NFIA autonomous bill. Lawmakers refused to confirm Mr Magu on March 15, 2017 and before then they refused to screen him on December 16, 2016.
The latest attempt to save the commission from Mr Magu comes from a Senate, who believe it or not, has the full support of the agency’s work force.
Even as moves are constantly been made to use the EFCC against Senator Bukola Saraki and Senator Dino Melaye, they can both boast of the full support of these staff members.
This is because the Senate has represented them by rejecting Mr Magu and has voiced their requests for a more suitable hand for the commission.
Those keeping Mr Magu should heed to the call of reason and let him go. Out of a population of 180 Million people, surely there are other investigators with cleaner records that can do a much better job.
Listen to Mr Bashir, he said: “I repeat, those who canvassed for the retention of Mr Magu are ignorant of his corrosives and those who chose to allow him stay back may be in short supplies of intelligence information of his corrosive tendencies. The damage he has done in d last two years will take decades to repair.”
“For anyone with conscience,” he adds, “the time to save the EFCC from Mr Magu is now. A further delay would be termed by even generation yet unborn as a deliberate act of subtle complicity. The fear of ‘shame’ of retraction shouldn’t not be a clog in the wheel of progressiveness.”
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