Another chapter is about to close in the annals of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Its Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, is in the eye of the storm. Like his predecessors – Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, Mrs. Farida Waziri and Ibrahim Lamorde – his fate hangs in the balance as he answers charges before the Directorate of Security Services (DSS) and an administrative panel headed by former President of Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami.
Magu, a police officer and pioneer staff of the anti-graft body, occupies an important position as anti-financial crime czar because the war against corruption is a major pillar of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
The president has approved his suspension. Is the end of an era not imminent?
Opinion is divided on his current ordeals, which were a culmination of his nasty experiences since his appointment.
The hunter has become the hunted. Some observers contend that Magu is about to be consumed by political intrigues in the high corridor of power, ahead of 2023. Will he be sacrificed on the alter of real politik?
Although Justice Salami, head of the fact-finding committee, promised a fair hearing, the manner of his invitation without a letter, according to sources, conveyed the impression that he was hijacked on the road and taken to custody.
To the critics, the approach was less than honourable under an administration that pontificates on the rule of law and due process.
But, some commentators also argue that the allegations levelled against him are weighty, stressing that nobody is above investigation.
Therefore, he should not be insulated from trial and punishment for indulgence in infractions, if found culpable. To the latter group, Magu may be the architect of his own predicament.
The allegations against the embattled acting chairman include:
- Alleged discrepancies in the reconciliation records of the EFCC and the Federal Ministry of Finance on recovered funds;
- Declaration of N539billion as recovered funds instead of N504b earlier claimed;
- Insubordination to the Office of the AGF by not seeking his approval on some decisions;
- Not providing enough evidence for the extradition of ex-Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke;
- Alleged late action on the investigation of Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) leading to legal dispute;
- Not respecting court order to unfreeze a N7billion judgment in favour of a former executive director of First Bank;
- Alleged delay in acting on two vessels seized by Nigerian Navy leading to the loss of crude;
- Alleged favouring of some investigators called Magu’s Boys;
- Reporting some judges to their presiding officers without deferring to the AGF;
- Alleged sales of seized assets to cronies, associates and friends, and
- Alleged issuance of investigative activities to some media prejudicial to some cases.
Source – The Nation