By Adenike Lucas
The Senate has tried its best to ensure that Nigeria’s suspension from a world financial intelligence unit is lifted.
DENISAURUS News, the first to report the NFIU’s shut down from the Egmont server, stated in May 2017, that the problem was caused by the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
According to the Egmont group, a financial regulatory body which consists of 156 countries, Ibrahim Mustafa Magu was leaking confidential documents to allies in the media.
A technology expert explained that unknown to Mr Magu, “a server leaves behind digital footprints each time it is accessed.”
Hence, when it was discovered that the server was being abused by Mr Magu, a negative decision was taken against Nigeria.
The implication of the suspension means Nigeria has been unable to find out those sponsoring terrorism in the country.
At its 24th plenary, the group which has the UK, US and Sudan as member state, called for the independence of the NFIU.
And in an attempt to rectify the issue, lawmakers at the National Assembly passed the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency, NFIA Bill.
But, EFCC staff, who have spoken to reporters from DENISAURUS News for over a year were not surprised that it was their boss who caused the problem.
Besides, even worse is that the secret police had way back in October warned about Mr Magu, a “corrupt officer,” who was suspended for leaking “very sensitive and classified documents” to a friend of his Umar Mohammed, a retired Air Commodore.
Mr Mohammed who was arrested by the DSS used the documents to run a blackmail cartel.
The Department of State Security Services in its report which indicted Mr Magu, a level 14 Deputy Commissioner of Police, said that he would eventually become a “liability to the fight against corruption.”
The DSS had explicitly noted in its report that Mr Magu, a “perennial offender,” was never going to change.
Months after the DSS report and the suspension of the NFIU has provided strong vindication for the secret police.
The “corrupt” police officer, who is said to have accessed the server to retrieve confidential information which he shared with those he was not supposed to share it with remains unrepentant.
Yet, despite the damming dossier from the secret police and the obvious poor performance, Mr Magu a level 14 whose nomination as fourth substantive chairman of the anti-graft agency was rejected last year March and on December 15, 2016, has the support of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
Today, Professor Osinbajo, stated that even though Mr Magu’s nomination was rejected twice by the Senate, he is “going nowhere.”
“I have known him personally right from the time of the very first chairman of the commission till now, he is a very dedicated, trustworthy gentleman. Don’t forget he is also the most senior official of the EFCC.”
Contrary to the Vice President, Mr Magu is not the most senior official the anti-graft agency.
With Professor Osinbajo’s “unconstitutional support,” it is no wonder that despite causing the suspension of the NFIU and with the threat of an expulsion, Mr Magu remains in office.
Informed sources say that even, after causing the problem, Mr Magu continues to work along with an official against the recommendation of the regulatory body based in Canada.
While the Senate has passed the NFIA Bill, the House Committee on anti-corruption, which includes a former EFCC staff, has drafted a new legislation that negates the calls made by the Egmont for the NFIU’s independence from the EFCC.
The Chairman Senate Committee on Anti-corruption, Chukwuka Utazi, today spoke of how Kayode Oladele was deliberately sabotaging the effort to lift the suspension with his refusal to cooperate with the NASS.
Citing order 43, Senator Utazi said: “Mr President, you may recall that in the meeting of Egmont Group of financial intelligence in Maco in July last year, Nigeria was suspended with a further threat of expulsion if before the next meeting of Egmont Group which is coming up by 11th of March, that if we don’t put our house in order, we will be finally expelled.
“The expulsion has dire consequences on this country, our financial institutions cannot do anything, our credit cards will no longer amount to anything, Nigeria will be degraded to the high risk nation. Even the corruption perception index we are complaining about is a child’s play to what we are going to face in few days to come,” he went on to add.
The Senate President promised to discuss the issue with the “Speaker later today to remind him of the position that we took so that we can direct the Chairmen of the relevant committees to take action, so that we can transmit this to Mr. President before the deadline.”