Exclusive: By Adenike Lucas, Editor
A pay roll scam has been unearthed at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
DENISAURUS News discovered that Ibrahim Mustafa Magu, the acting chairman of the EFCC suspended some staff members without pay – only for them to discover that for the past two years, their salaries continue to be allocated in the anti-graft budget.
According to informed sources, when the EFCC budget is submitted to the National Assembly, NASS, the names of the disengaged staff members are secretly included.
However, the source said “on the approval of the anti-graft agency’s wage bill, the funds are secretly diverted in a conspicuous manner by the leadership.”
The scam was only discovered after the Pension Fund Administrators, PFAs, of these disengaged staff members was still crediting the accounts of their customers on a monthly basis.
Insiders who alerted this paper to the rip off, asked “how and from which payments are the PFAs being credited?”
In their view: “That pensions are being deducted, justifies the fact that the main salaries and allowances is being allocated but they are going into ghost-pockets.”
The Wage Bill-Pay Roll scam is said to have began during the time of erstwhile anti-graft boss, Ibrahim Lamorde and has continued under the leadership of Mr Magu.
Since the tenure of Mr Lamorde, it was revealed that the rate of disengagement of EFCC staff members from the anti-graft agency became so alarming. Some left the agency due to the prevalence of loss in enthusiasm, injustice, poor commitment from the leadership among others.
This newspaper also gathered that some of the staff were either unjustly framed up and dismissed, and in other instances the employment of “first time offenders” were terminated abruptly.
DENISAURUS News learned from sources that whenever staff members are either voluntarily or involuntarily disengaged from the EFCC, their salaries and allowances is not stopped.
Instead, the anti-graft agency’s leadership tend to use that avenue as a ‘conduit-pipe’ for siphoning funds from the EFCC.
During the time of Farida Waziri, the only female EFCC Chair, staff members’ disengagement at the anti-graft agency was minimal.
Even if such existed under “Mama Waziri’s” tenure, DENISAURUS News gathered it was two percent and most were voluntary disengagement.
From our source, Mr Magu and his predecessor, Mr Lamorde were receiving full salaries and allowances for seconded police officers at the anti-graft agency.
Unfortunately, the policemen are given half-pay to complement their police salaries, while the rest is diverted into private pocket.
When this fraud was discovered few months ago, Mr Magu dubiously and fraudulently de-seconded those concerned police officers in order to conceal the beneficiaries or even prevent questions being raised.
Of recent, DENISAURUS News also reported on how Mr Magu doctored a pay roll he had submitted to the House of Representatives.
Explaining the cover up, Shehu 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.”
He said to confirm this allegation, “I challenge the House of Representative to ask Mr Magu to also present the payment vouchers he has been using to pay staff salaries, including the bank statements and compare same with the submitted Nominal Roll.
“Walahi, you will be SORRY for this Country.”
Loss of Reputation
Staff members who have left the EFCC, and others who are not pleased with the way a Commission meant to be fighting corruption is being run down, spoke exclusively to DENISAURUS News this week.
They expressed displeasure over inaction by authorities to deal with the issues plaguing the EFCC.
Those who remain at the anti-graft agency confided in this newspaper, saying the anti-graty Commission has been reduced to a den for breathing the corrupt and mediocre, who do not see themselves as having a stake to improve the performance and task saddled the EFCC.
The anti-graft agency which was established in 2002 by the regime of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, was once one of Nigeria most revered anti-graft agency.
Fighting corruption at the time, and rebuilding the image of Nigeria at the international scene, was a top priority that must be met, hence, the full support gotten by the pioneer Chairman, Nuhu Ribadu from the then Federal Government.
The anti-graft Agency as at then, DENISAURUS News learned, was more of a committed body, rather than concerned with media sensations and image laundering.
However, today, after decades of changes in leadership from one regime to another, the EFCC has been made to be a laughing stock, by some among the chairs that superintended over its affairs in past and presently.
DENISAURUS News, decided to carry out a detailed investigation into the affairs of the EFCC, when it got wind of how “corruption and impunity” was being permeated under the leadership of Mr Magu, the current acting anti-graft boss.
With dexterity, over a hundred staff members began to throw in their experience on the corruption and bribery, injustice and impunity and the victimisation and bullying suffered in the hands of Mr Magu.
Gaining the confidence of staff means, DENISAURUS News was able to report on Mr Magu’s crimes even before the indicting report by the secret police was published in October 2016.
MAGU: Corrupt Anti-graft Boss
Meanwhile, DENISAURUS News also gathered that regarding EFCC staff members who must have been unjustly disengaged, who tend to seek court redress, whenever judgement are delivered in favour of such staff, the anti-graft agency’s boss appeals such court verdict.
What we gathered is that, the appeal becomes expedient in order to box the victimised staff member into negotiation to consider forfeiture of the salaries and allowances, which had been diverted by EFCC Magu’s leadership.
The Department of State Services, DSS, had in its indicting report stated that Mr Magu is a perennial offender, who has failed an “integrity test.”
It warned that should Mr Magu be confirmed by the NASS, the anti-graft boss would be a “liability on anti-graft war” of this administration.
Consequently, the nomination of the “corrupt” officer as the fourth chairman of the EFCC was rejected twice by the Senate.
Despite his rejection, Mr Magu remains in office, with the support of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.