By Adenike Lucas, @denilucs
Back in early 2016, it felt like a struggle explaining the height and depth of the corruption perpetuated by Ibrahim Mustafa Magu.
For example, when this newspaper exclusively reported that Mr Magu, the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC was not declaring all the assets recovered, some doubting Thomases cried foul.
One particular report that discussed the terrible issue which would later plague the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, was an article written by Adenike Lucas and published on August 2, 2016, on Abusidiq blog.
The article stated then that a BACAB PLAZA beside KASUPDA HOUSE, Kaduna Central Market, Ahmadu Bello Way, Kaduna State belonging to Air Commodore Salisu Yushau, who is involved in the Arms Deal scandal were never declared to the Assets Forfeiture Unit. The story spread like wild fire!
Even then, Mr Magu knew we were catching up on him and he spared us nothing. He sent his goons to arrest the popular blogger who published the story.
The aim of the arrest was to shut us up. However, having gained the confidence of hundreds of EFCC staff, Miss Lucas, the editor of this newspaper was all the more determined to expose the internal corruption within the commission.
DENISAURUS News reported that the EFCC boss sold a mansion worth 1 billion recovered by former former Chairman of the Presidential Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina to a Lagos lawyer.
A report exclusively written by a former staff of the Commission for this paper provided details on how pension loots were re-looted. The story published on January 16, 2017, was a call for investigation into the matter.
Other staff members have since alerted us to other corrupt action taken by their boss. When it seemed as though their voices were not been heard, some of the staff humbly resigned from the EFCC.
Like the exclusive report on the suspension from the Egmont Group, the EFCC spokesperson is quick to deny any report of corruption against Mr Magu, only for the world to catch up that it was indeed true.
For every denial, Mr Magu proved himself to be a liar and a “liability to the fight against corruption.”
Because, eventually the Department of State Security Services confirmed the allegations of corruption DENISAURUS Newspaper had made against Mr Magu.
Consequently, on March 15, 2017, Mr Magu’s nomination as the fourth chairman of the anti-graft agency was rejected for the second time by lawmakers in the National Assembly.
Even with all its evidence, many within the public still saw this as an attack on the rejected anti-graft chairman. Mr Magu sold a lie to them that it was “corruption fighting back.”
Many fooled by the abracadabra media trials and propaganda war performed by Mr Magu who was finding money everywhere, bought the lie hook, line and sinker.
The newly promoted Commissioner of Police performed magic so as such he began to find orphaned money. He found billions of it in Kaduna.
He even found millions of dollars in the middle of the market in Lagos. At one point, he claimed he had recovered N500 billion from alleged suspects.
Yet, when tested by Lawmakers during his confirmation hearing, Mr Magu could not provide an answer on how much he’s recovered.
Worst still, when the Minister of Finance, Adekemi Adeosun went to consolidate her records she could only account for N91 billion from Mr Magu. So, where then is the missing N409 billion?
In a letter dated February 9, 2018, and personally signed by Mr Adeosun, entitled “Summary of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) recoveries from May 2015 to January 2018”, the Finance minister asked the self-acclaimed anti-corruption tsar to explain himself
“This is to notify you of the records of cash assets recoveries in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from May 2015 till date based on the information available to the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
“It has, however, come to the attention of the Ministry of Finance, the use of recovery figures in media reports by the EFCC that do not reconcile with the records of the Ministry.
“You are, therefore, kindly requested to clarify where these cash recoveries have been deposited and provide accompanying evidence.”
We bet you, nothing will come out of this report. It is not the first time a query has been issued to Mr Magu over the issue of assets.
READ MORE : MAGU RUNS TO USA AMID PRESIDENCY QUERY
Imagine, this entire headache could have been avoided had more caution been given to the report by the State Police.
The indicting report by the DSS was published on October 2016.
DENISAURUS News exclusively published on February 16, 2017, that the Director General of the Department of State Services, DSS, Lawal Musa Duara who wrote the intelligence report was not only standing by the claims of corruption against Mr Magu, he had evidence of further charges.
In its report, the DSS stated that Mr Magu, who hopes to become the next Governor of Borno State, lacks integrity.
An officer of Mr Magu’s caliber should be one of impeccable credentials, with proven integrity and capacity to lead the nation’s fight against graft in high and low places. But, no Mr Magu collects kick backs and uses police lackeys to do the same.
“Thus far, it is evident from MAGU’s antecedents that he is by no means that kind of officer. His relationship with Umar MOHAMMED which involved disclosure of very sensitive and classified official documents in his possession shows lack of professionalism and assails his integrity,” the report states.
“Also worthy of note is the fact that MAGU exhibited a total lack of judgment where it matters most. He accepted to move into a tastily furnished accommodation without any scrutiny of how it was furnished.
“The recovery of sensitive and classified documents from the residence of UMAR further underlays his close affinity to MAGU and an apparent penchant for sabotaging official processes and administrative protocols, just to further the latter’s personal material and pecuniary agenda. Such mutually beneficial relationships as with UMAR, who by his confession, approaches ‘clients’ for possible exploitation, favours and associated returns is unprecedented and very damming for an anti-graft top official.
“This reinforces the view that MAGU may continue to exploit his official position, if confirmed as EFCC Chairman and indulge in other unprofessional and criminal conducts for personal aggrandisement contrary to his oath of office.”
Instead of the Presidency to heed to the security apparatus mandated with the task of gathering internal intelligence and screening of government appointees, the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo continued to hold on to the corrupt Mr Magu for selfish reasons.
In fact, despite the report, Professor Osinbajo resent Mr Magu’s name for the second time to the Senate. When his request was rejected, he twisted the law in his favour, claiming that Mr Magu did not need the confirmation of the Senate.
Another deliberate attempt to mislead the public, was when Professor Osinbajo claimed that Mr Magu was the most senior EFCC staff – a claim DENISAURUS News knows to be untrue because there is a level 17 officer who is more senior to the Borno born police officer.
Professor Osinbajo’s backing for corrupt Mr Magu is alarming and worrying. Should a pastor and professor of Law support a man with such questionable character?
DENISAURUS News has many other questions to ask the Vice President, but not wanting to go on a tangent, we’d express our thought in another editorial.
Back to the main issue of Mr Magu’s corrupt act. In December 2017, more than a year after our first report on Mr Magu, the truth is clear.
“Corruption fighting corruption! I keep on telling people that Magu is a big SCAM! SMH,” @Mr_Timbuktu noted on Twitter.
He is not the only one that that thinks this.
In the long run, it might have been a tough task unmasking Mr Magu’s corrupt nature, but, in the end, albeit with time the man himself, described as a “perennial offender,” showed himself up for what he really is, thereby confirming what members of staff at the EFCC had told DENISAURUS Newspaper from as early as June 23 2016.
Adenike Lucas is the editor and publisher of DENISAURUS News.