Notwithstanding the fact that the newly promoted former Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has been retired, Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi, said the former anti-graft czar would be prosecuted if he is indicted by the probe panel chaired by Justice Ayo Salami (rtd).
Recall that following accusations against Magu by Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, President Muhammadu Buhari had set up an investigative panel chaired by Salami to probe him in July 2020.
Following the conclusion of its assignment, the panel turned in its report in November of the same year. Answering a question on why police authorities are yet to act on recommendations of the panel but instead promoted Magu to Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of Police before his eventual retirement, Dingyadi said: “This is an issue that should have been addressed by the Police Service Commission (PSC), which has the responsibility to conduct promotions. They are not here. And I am aware that the PSC is directly under the Presidency.
“So, I cannot speak for them. But what I know is that Magu has already retired and that is what I can tell you now. The fact that he was promoted is a matter for the PSC to, maybe, throw more light on.
“I’m not aware of the position of government on the report you are talking about and I think it is still under consideration. It doesn’t mean that when he retires, the law will not catch up with him whenever he is found guilty. So, I think it’s not completely finished business.”
MEANWHILE, EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, has appealed to civil servants to report all forms of economic and financial crimes taking place in their Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
Bawa made the call during a two-day sensitisation programme on the Eagle Eye Application for Assistant Directors of the Federal Ministry of Finance in Abuja.
This came few days after the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed, was arrested by the EFCC in connection with alleged diversion of funds and money laundering of N80 billion.
Bawa, represented by his deputy Chief of Staff, Sambo Mayana, said anti-graft agencies need a lot of information to successfully fight corruption.
He noted: “The reporting of crimes to us, in the EFCC, is very important because without information, it will be difficult for us to carry out our mandate. Of course, you may go out to get information and have cases reported, but with more information, it makes it a lot easier and it makes prevention even better.”
Salami commended the President for the initiative to dispose of all forfeited assets “because of the poor condition of the assets we saw during our physical verification nationwide.”
President Muhammadu Buhari has received the report of the judicial commission of inquiry on the investigation of Ibrahim Magu, the suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), headed by Justice Ayo Salami (retd).
The report recommended that future heads of the agency should not be from the police. Salami also wants the president to consider disengaging, within the next two years, the 970 policemen on secondment to the EFCC which include Magu.
While presenting the report to the president at the presidential villa, Abuja on Friday, Justice Salami had observed that the four chairmen of EFCC since inception were from the police, recommending that in appointing a new chairman consideration should be given to candidates from other law enforcement or security agencies and a core staff of the EFCC as provided in the EFCC establishment Act of 2004.
He stated: “Your Excellency, permit me to say that four successive chairmen of the EFCC from inception, have been drawn from the police, therefore, in appointing a new chairman of EFCC, consideration should be given to candidates from other law enforcement or security agencies and a qualified core staff of EFCC as provided in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment Act 2004).
“It is also important to point out that at the moment, 970 policemen (114 drivers, 641 mobile policemen and 215 operations), are on secondment in the EFCC, therefore an exit plan for the disengagement of the police and other personnel within two years from now should be considered. This will address the issue of no promotion of core staff for over nine years.
“Your Excellency, our thinking here is that whoever you are appointing other than a core EFCC staff, should be in the transitional capacity of two years during which period, the arrangement would be made for the appointment of any of the core staff who has been commended by National Crime Agency, UK and other international law enforcement for their professionalism.”
Justice Salami affirmed that the suspended Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, and 113 witnesses appeared and testified before the Commission, adding that 46 petitions and memoranda were presented by individuals and organisations with complaints against the suspended Acting Chairman, EFCC or both.
Justice Salami disclosed that the Commission also embarked on a nationwide physical verification of recovered forfeited assets, comprising real estates, automobiles, vessels and non-cash assets.
Ayo Salami expressed profound gratitude to the President for giving the Commission members a wonderful opportunity to serve the nation.
Obaseki who joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in June after he was disqualified by the APC, defeated Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the APC in the election results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Sunday.
A Kano based industrialist, Chief Kalu Ogbonnaya, has advised the Federal Government to take necessary steps to stimulate the nation’s economy to prevent a recession post COVID-19.
Ogbonnaya who spoke in an interview with the NoRM‘s known Media on Thursday in Kano, said as a result of the coronavirus raving the world, no business has been moving.
The allegations were raised by the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
President Muhammadu Buhari, has received reports by the Judicial Commission of Inquiry probing Ibrahim Magu, the suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The commission led by retired Justice Ayo Salami has been investigating the activities of EFCC under the leadership of the suspended Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu.
This follows allegations of corruption and misconduct among others.
However, the panel after concluding its findings submitted the outcome to Buhari.
This was disclosed in a tweet by the Presidency.
The tweet reads: “NOW: President @MBuhari receiving the report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry on the Investigation of Mr. Ibrahim Magu, the Acting Chairman, @officialEFCC. Justice Ayo Salami, Chair of the Judicial Commission, presenting the Report. #AsoVillaToday.”
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has denied the allegation of conspiring to witch-hunt anyone.
Malami’s Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr Umar Gwandu, faulted the claim in a statement on Monday.
He was reacting to the comments made by a lawyer, Victor Giwa, who claimed that the minister ordered his arrest because he refused to implicate Ibrahim Magu, the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Giwa made the allegation in a statement on Sunday entitled, ‘Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) Is Using Donald Wokoma, My Erstwhile Client Against Me For My Refusal To Testify And Indict Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman of EFCC, At The Justice Ayo Salami Panel Investigating The EFCC Boss’.
He explained that he was invited by the Justice Ayo Salami led panel, which is investigating the corruption allegations against the suspended EFCC boss, on August 18 and 19.
The lawyer, among many other claims, said he was asked to testify against Magu through an alleged conspiracy between the AGF and Donald Wokoma, a former special adviser to the Vice President whom he said he represented and secured a judgement in his favour.
But Gwandu described the allegation against the minister as ‘flimsy’, stressing that they were untrue.
According to him, Malami never met with Giwa and has never discussed any issue with Wokoma, nor asked anybody, personally or by proxy, to engage Giwa to testify against Magu.
The minister’s spokesman insisted that Malami, who did not set up the investigation panel to probe the suspended EFCC boss, was not saddled with any responsibility to procure witnesses for the panel.
“The Attorney-General of the Federation is never a member of the panel nor does it fall within the realm of the AGF’s authority to invite witness(es) for a presidential probe panel.
“The claim by Victor Giwa, Esq is therefore fictitious, unfounded and a figment of the imagination of mischief-makers who want to create unnecessary attention and tarnish the good image of the Attorney-general of the Federation and Minister of Justice and labouring incessantly these days, to falsely cast aspersion on the AGF’s hard-earned reputation,” Gwandu stated.
He, however, challenged Giwa to come and substantiate his allegation with details of when he met with the AGF on the issue, where they met, and how the meeting went.
Gwandu also asked the lawyer to answer whether the minister met him in person or sent a representative, in what capacity was the representative if there was any, and what the terms of their engagement were.
He asked Giwa to reveal what the purported offer to testify against Magu was, how it was made, as well as to name who the witnesses were.
Nobody is entitled to condemn Mr Ibrahim Magu before he is afforded the opportunity to defend himself in the corruption allegations levelled against him.
Mr Wahab Shittu, who is the lawyer to the suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), said this in a statement sent to on Sunday.
He insisted that his client was innocent of the corruption allegations against him, although he has yet to be given the chance to prove his innocence.
The legal practitioner explained that the statement was in reaction to an online publication that the panel led by Justice Ayo Salami investigating Magu had recommended his sack and prosecution to President Muhammadu Buhari.
He noted that following an earlier report of similar nature, the presidential panel advised them to ignore the story.
According to Shittu, the suspended EFCC boss is yet to formally present his defence and proceedings are ongoing, and witnesses are still lined up for next week beginning from Monday.
He decried that despite repeated demands, his client has not been served with copies of allegations against him while the instrument embodying the Terms of Reference was not served on him until 35 days after proceedings had commenced.
The lawyer added that the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, whose memo triggered the proceedings, has yet to be summoned to testify to support the allegations against Magu.
Among other issues raised, Shittu said his client was unable to gain access to official documents and other information necessary for his defence due to his suspension from office.
While the presidential panel was investigating the allegations of corruption against Magu, President Buhari affirmed his suspension from office on July 10.
A statement from the government explained that the presidential directive was to allow for an unhindered inquiry by the panel under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act and other relevant laws.
Read the full statement by Magu’s lawyer below:
23rd August 2020.
SALAMI PANEL CAN’T SUBMIT INTERIM REPORT WITHOUT HEARING FROM MAGU- WAHAB SHITTU
Gentlemen of the Press,
Based on press inquiries on my clients’ response to the story on Media captioned “Exclusive, Salami panel asks Buhari to fire, prosecute Magu for corruption”, we wish to state as follows:
We are unaware of the source of the story and we are actually shocked that such a false story is being orchestrated in the public space, contrary to the stage of ongoing proceedings before the panel. We wish to state with high sense of responsibility that our client is yet to formally present his defence. Proceedings are ongoing and witnesses are still lined up for next week beginning from Monday. Please note that the earlier report of similar import published by The Pilot was brought to the attention of the panel and we were advised by the chairman of the panel to ignore the story. Our attitude is also to ignore this latest story as falsehood not reflecting the realities on ground. We all know that in spite of repeated demands, our client has not been served with copies of allegations against him. The instrument embodying the Terms of Reference was not served on my client until August 8, 2020 (35 days after proceedings have commenced). That the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), whose memo triggered the proceedings, is yet to be summoned to testify to support the allegations against our client. He who “asserts must prove”. That our client was excluded from the initial stages of the proceedings with several witnesses testifying in his absence. That counsel to our client was not allowed to cross-examine many of the witnesses who had testified until recently. That our client is yet to be granted access to petitions/presentations, case files and exhibits admitted in the proceedings. Please note that we have written to the panel to that effect. That our client was accosted on the street and compulsorily requested to appear “immediately” before the panel without opportunity to access documents to adequately prepare his defence. That our client was subsequently detained for ten days after appearing before the panel in unpleasant circumstances. This detention is not covered by the Terms of Reference arising from the instrument constituting the judicial commission of inquiry. That our client, owing to his suspension from office, is unable to have access to official documents and other information necessary for his defence. That cases pending before superior courts of records such as Federal High Court, Court of Appeal and The Supreme Court are being reviewed in the proceedings. We believe that this development is subjudice and unhealthy for our jurisprudence. That witnesses appearing before the panel were not sworn on oath before giving evidence as stipulated under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act, 2004 on whose authority the instrument setting up the Judicial Commission of Inquiry is derived. It is curious and worrisome that an administrative panel of inquiry headed by His Lordship, Justice Ayo Isa Salami, having sat and taken evidence (both oral and documentary) in the past one month, has suddenly metamorphosed into a Judicial Commission of Inquiry. How this comes within contemplation of a commission of the Tribunal of Inquiry Act, 2004 is very questionable. We also raise serious objection to piecemeal release of the so-called interim report in the social media, particularly the WHISTLER online medium which claimed to have seen the interim report. It is instructive to state that the online medium went ahead to recklessly engaged in libelous publication where it listed individuals, and companies that being investigated for corruption by the EFCC allegedly paid bribes to my client. We are shocked that such a libelous publication against my client without hearing from him. This panel must address this weighty issue before the commencement of today’s proceedings. The Salami panel also revealed the identities of eight suspects that allegedly paid the bribes to Magu through pastor Omale and Shanono. Shanono allegedly received NGN570,698,500 from China Zhonghao Nigeria limited through the Zenith Bank account 1018895662 of his company, Ahmed Ibrahim Shanono Investment Ltd. “The transfers were in about 43 tranches between 5th December 2014 and 23rd June, 2015. The china Zhonghao Coy is being investigated by the EFCC for abandoning a road contract awarded to the company by the Zamfara State Government between 2012 and 2019”, the panel noted. An aide to a formal managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Nathniel Uyo, was alleged to have paid the sum of N10 million into an Ecobank Account Number 3912014141 of the Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministry on 09/06/2018. The report said the former NDDC MD “was then being investigated by the EFCC over an alleged attempt to bribe members of the Akwa-Ibom State APC Appeal Committee in Abuja”. Pastor Omale, according to the Salami panel, also received N10 million from a Bureau De Change operator, 7*7 BDC Limited, through his Church’s Ecobank account. The report said that the BDC was being investigated by the EFCC for, “receiving over N1.6 billion (N1,600,000,000), part of the N27 billion (N27,000,000,000) Insurance Premiums looted during the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan”. A former Chairman of the Niger State Pilgrims Agency, Liman Kantigi, who was being investigated by the EFCC for allegedly misappropriating funds during his tenure at the agency, also allegedly paid N200 million bribe to Magu through Shanono. Kantigi, through his company, Sadiq Air Travels, allegedly transferred N200 million into the Access Bank Account of Shanono’s company, the report said. Weeks before paying the alleged bribe, the EFCC was said to have traced N4 billion to two Guaranty Trust Bank accounts linked to Kantigi. A government contractor, A.G Ferrero & Co. had also allegedly paid N213 million to another company belonging to Shanono, Newttech Aluminium and Roofing Service Ltd. “A.G Ferrero & Co. was a contractor to Jigawa State Government during the tenure fo Sule Lamido between 2007 and 2013. Lamido was investigated by the EFCC during the period”. The report said. The Salami panel said Pastor Omale, through his Church, also received N1.3 million from the company being investigated for alleged link to EFCC’s N1.5 billion money laundering case against a former Plateau State Governor, Joshua Dariye. According to the panel, “Apartment Le Paradisi transferred One million three hundred and twenty thousand naira (N1,320,000.00) into Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministry Eco Bank Account Number 3912014143, on 22/04/2014. The company had testified before the EFCC, in respect of a case involving the former Plateau State Governor, Joshua Dariye who was then being investigated for laundering about One billion five hundred million naira (N1,500,000,000.00). Former Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang, was alleged to have paid N30,744,000 to Ahmed Ibrahim Shanono Investment Limited over his investigation for alleged looting of N6.3 billion while serving as governor of the state. Senator Jonah David Jang transferred the sum of thirty million seven hundred and forty-four thousand naira (N30,744,000.00) into the UBA account Number 1018895662 of Ahmed Ibrahim Shanono Investment Ltd, on 18th July 2016. Senator Jang, a former Governor of Plateau State is being investigated by the EFCC for alleged looting of Six Billion three hundred million naira (N6.3bn) belonging to Plateau State Government”, said the report”. The entirety of the publication above is first-class falsehood from the pit of hell. None of the issues arose from the proceedings of the judicial commission of inquiry. I recall Pastor Omale appearing before the panel to confirm openly that none of the transfers into the church’s accounts emanated from Magu and that Magu never donated to his personal or church account. It is also instructive to note that no character by the name Shanono ever appeared before the judicial commission of inquiry. The purveyors of this fake news may assume they are destroying the sterling image of Magu, but I have news for them. Majority of Nigerians however cannot be fooled. I can only refer to the testimony of former SGF Babachir Lawal on Magu thus “But now in the case of Magu, the narrative is that corruption is fighting back. These are the impressions and the consequences of such conducts. Initially, I had the feeling that the system would come after Magu, especially the press and social media. If you are very discerning, you will know they are with him. The preponderance of opinions is in support of Magu’s position. The views being laid out are as if it is a witch-hunt. There are better ways to end Magu’s reign because no matter what anybody tells you, Magu tried. I used to joke that if you are a thief and you are caught by Magu, nobody can release you unless you cut off his hands. – Culled from The Punch Newspapers.
Media front-page lead story of Sunday 23rd August 2020 in a banner headline reported “Magu May Face More Investigations, Criminal Prosecution” I am at a loss of how the paper arrived at this conclusion when it is clear to all that the only thing going for Magu is his innocence. We will not join further issues on the publication with the paper at this stage.
We wish to confirm that the proceedings are still ongoing, and my client is yet to present his defence. We are therefore shocked at the suggestion that an interim report has been submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari. We all know that this is a democracy anchored on respect for the rule of law. Central to the rule of law is the element of fair hearing. Section 36(1) of 1999 Constitution (as amended) is explicit on this. It provides;
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations, including any question or determination by or against any government or authority, a person shall be entitled to a fair hearing within a reasonable time by a court or other tribunal established by law and constituted in such manner as to secure its independence and impartiality.”
We urge those bent on prejudicing the proceedings of the panel by planting false stories in the public space to think of the interest of our country and not prejudge our client whose commitment all along is service to the country. The only thing keeping our client going in spite of the desire of mischief-makers to pitch him unfairly against the authorities is his conviction of his innocence. Please no one is entitled to condemn our innocent client before he is heard or before he is afforded the opportunity of defending himself on the merits.
The suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu is not giving up on his request for fair hearing.
Magu through his lawyers has once again written to the Chairman of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry probing him and the affairs of the commission.
In the letter dated August 20, the former EFCC boss requested for the copies of documents so far tendered against him by those who have appeared before the commission.
Magu demanded that he be given the necessary documents by the commission to be able to defend himself in view of the weight of criminal allegations levelled against him and the anti-graft agency.
“Please refer to SECTION 36(6)(A)(B) CFRN 1999 which provides as follows: Every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be entitled to be informed promptly in the language that he understands and in details of the nature of the offence,” Shittu wrote.
“Be given adequate time and facility for the preparation of his defence. Based on the foregoing, we request ahead of the defence of our client before this judicial commission of inquiry for the following:
“Copies of all presentations/petitions against our client tendered in these proceedings; access to all exhibits tendered in these proceedings; access to relevant case files and documents tendered in these proceedings; any other materials that will be relevant for purposes of the defence of our client in these proceedings.
“We humbly request you to note that in view of the timeline stipulated above and the need to clarify the duration of the sittings and whether the appointing authority has extended the period, it is of utmost importance that access to the requested documents is granted to our client and his counsel to ensure seamless proceedings and the guarantee of fair hearing as enshrined in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the letter read.
In July, the suspended EFCC boss had complained of not being officially received a copy of the allegations against him.
Magu’s travails followed a memo by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation Abubakar Malami, who accused him of selling recovered looted assets to his associates.
The Justice Salami-led presidential panel investigating the operations of the suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu, resumed today.
Mr Magu is been investigated over alleged mismanagement of recovered assets by the EFCC between May 2015 and May 2020, a process triggered by allegations against him by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami
Sources close to the presidential panel told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media) that the panel at today’s proceeding promised to give Mr. Magu fair hearing in the process of investigating the allegations leveled against the embattled anti-graft boss
At today’s hearing, NRM gathered that Mr. Magu requested that the proceeding be documented on video or recorded but it was turned down.
The panel is reported to have told Mr. Magu that the venue of the sitting is temporary and therefore it is impossible to install video recording equipment.
The panel, however, promised that it will be fair in its approach and conduct of what it says its a fact-finding mission and not a trial.
When Noble Reporters Media sought to find out about the proceedings of today from Mr. Magu’s counsel, Mr Wahab Shittu, he said Magu trusts the long-standing integrity of the chairman of the panel Justice Salami and will count on its promise to be fair in the handling of the investigation.
Mr Magu, who was first arrested a few weeks ago in Abuja by a team of police officers, who dragged him to the statehouse to appear before the Justice Ayo Salami-led presidential investigative committee, had complained about what he termed unfortunate handling of his investigation for alleged corruption, saying he has consequently been paraded like a common criminal.
He has since denied all allegations levelled against him.
The suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu, has given a detailed response and defense of the petitions and allegations leveled against him.
In his defense document obtained by Channels Television on Thursday, Magu denied all the claims as untrue and a calculated attempt to tarnish his name.
He insisted that not a dime of the recovered funds was fraudulently converted for his personal use and challenged his accusers to produce evidence of such fraudulent conversion.
The suspended EFCC boss also disagreed on the argument of the powers of his office as chairman of the anti-graft agency to initiate criminal prosecution.
He explained that the power to prosecute cases was not what he could arrogate to himself and before he was appointed acting Chairman of the commission, the agency has constantly exercised its statutory power to institute criminal charges where prima facie evidence was made out without seeking for the consent of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).
Magu, who is being investigated by a presidential panel led by Retired Justice Ayo Salami over allegations of gross misconduct in activities of the EFCC under his watch, argued that the various decisions of the Courts of Appeal were to the effect that the agency does not need the fiat of the AGF to institute criminal charges.
He lamented that since his appearance and subsequent detention on July 6, he has repeatedly sought the details of allegations and petitions against him personally and through his lawyers, but the request had not been obliged to date.
THE FULL LETTER FROM THE SUSPENDED EFCC BOSS ADDRESSED TO THE PRESIDENTIAL PANEL (Read here..)
I Am Innocent The suspended EFCC boss said while the panel has insisted that he was before it not an accused or a suspect but only as a witness, he has yet to know what the issues or who the persons were.
He specifically responded to the three important issues bordering on the Report of the Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets (PCARA), Memo of the AGF to the President against him, and the alleged petitions addressed to the AGF which he said were already in the custody of the panel but not served on him.
In his response, Magu stated that no assets were sold and the proceeds thereof converted by the EFCC under his watch.
He also denied threats issued to judicial officers by him or the EFCC in the discharge of their official functions, adding that there was never a lack of transparency in the management of recovered assets under his leadership of the commission.
According to the suspended EFCC boss, there has been no diversion of proceeds from recovered assets or personal enrichment on his part.
Contrary to reports, he accused the office of the AGF of interference and being less cooperative and supportive of the process of recovery and management of assets.
In conclusion, Magu informed the panel that all his actions were documented and followed the prescribed procedures with necessary approvals.
He insisted that he was innocent and has served his country to the best of his abilities with all sense of responsibility and integrity.
The suspended chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu, says he is ready to fight back at orchestrated attacks against his person.
Mr Magu’s position was contained in a statement on Sunday by his legal counsel, Wahab Shittu, in which he denied misappropriating funds recovered from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Shittu said the allegations against his client border on matters that were never brought before the panel set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to probe the activities of the EFCC under him.
He explained that the well over 329 million naira recovered by the EFCC was remitted directly into NNPC dedicated accounts via remitta under a special arrangement endorsed by the NNPC, EFCC, and the affected NNPC marketers.
The lawyer further noted that the remittances can be independently verified both at the NNPC and the EFCC records and that the issue of NNPC recovered funds never featured in the proceedings of the presidential panel.
Other allegations that Mr Shittu dispelled include that of assets declaration and failure by Mr Magu to properly explain the rationale for the exclusion of culprits in the alleged misapplication of three billion naira in the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
He described the allegations as fraudulent and deliberate attempts to malign Mr. Magu.
The Presidential Panel investigating the Suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, has agreed to take his defence and response at subsequent proceedings.
Magu’s lawyer, Wahab Shittu told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media) that he and his client appeared again at the Villa on Friday and the panel gave them the assurance that it is not rejecting Magu’s defence but that it is premature to take same now.
The panel says this is because it is currently interrogating several witnesses so that it can confront the suspended acting EFCC Chairman with the outcome of its findings from the witnesses.
The panel also assured Magu that in line with the principles of fair hearing, he and his counsel, Wahab Shittu, will participate in further proceedings of the panel starting from Monday, July 27.
According to Shittu, the panel said it is on a fact-finding exercise and no one including Magu is on trial.
He told Media TV’s judiciary correspondent, Shola Soyele, that the panel had yet to make copies of the allegations against Magu available to him.
Mr Shittu, added that the panel warned against the publication of its proceedings especially because it believes the release of the allegations to the public carries serious ‘’security implications’’.
Consequently, Mr Shittu withdrew his undertaking to the panel in respect of the allegations.
The suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has claimed that some of the forfeited assets recovered by the agency, were auctioned to ministries and government agencies.
The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, had accused Magu of failing to account for recovered loot and assets.
Malami alleged that Magu sold some of the recovered assets to his associates.
But in a letter addressed to the Ayo Salami-led presidential panel probing the allegations, Magu explained how some of the assets were sold off.
He listed the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), as part of agencies that got recovered vehicles through special auction with presidential approval.
Magu noted that about 450 forfeited vehicles are yet to be sold, although they have presidential approval to be disposed off.
He said some of these agencies have not paid for the vehicles, but that there was an agreement for their values will be deducted from the ministries’ allocation.
“On allocation of vehicles to some government agencies through special auction with presidential approval. The beneficiary agencies are: the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management of which the valued price is to be debited from their allocation; State House, National Commission for Refugees and Displaced Persons; Federal Inland Revenue Service and National Directorate of Employment.
“Real properties finally forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria and allocated to some agencies for official use in line with the Presidential approval are: Voice of Nigeria, National Directorate of Employment, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, North East Development Commission and Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate.
“Properties under interim forfeiture order are rented by the following government agencies: Nigerian Army, Federal Ministry of Finance, Fiscal Responsibility Commission, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission and Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria,” Magu said.
Magu was arrested by officials from the Department of State Services (DSS) on July 6 and detained for 10 days before regaining his freedom.
There is more to be heard and seen as regards the case of suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu, this is according to a statement from the presidency.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, stated on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics that Nigerians should prepare for surprises as the panel probing the suspended chairman is getting set to submit a report of its findings.
Mr Shehu said the Justice Ayo Salami-led panel has been updating the President on some of their findings, noting that Nigerians will be amazed as to the content of the panel’s report.
He said President Buhari is recognized internationally for his fight against corruption and deserves to be commended.
The spokesman assured that where wrongdoings are detected, they will always be addressed.
Mr Shehu, therefore, asked Nigerians to ignore those persons who are trying to cast aspersions on the efforts of the Justice Ayo Salami-led panel
Allegations and counter-allegations in the media have become the daily experience of the suspended EFCC boss Ibrahim Magu and AGF Abubakar Malami, and the duo have no one else to thank for their ordeal except the Justice Ayo Salami panel.
The panel President Muhammadu Buhari set up to investigate the 22 allegations against Magu has been operating in secrecy, going as far as interrogating and detaining the suspect without formality.
And with the vacuum so created, the media, especially social media, has gone to work, filling in the blanks with what they called facts, insider scoops, rumors, and speculations.
Magu, getting the short end of the stick, has been screaming through his lawyers, clarifying the stories in the media—the only source he has been receiving the allegations the presidential panel is probing him for.
“Our client undertakes to cooperate fully with the Salami panel by making available to the panel formal response to the allegations against him in the social media platforms and newspapers since,’ his lawyer Shittu said on the weekend, adding he is yet to be formally served with copies of the allegations against him by the panel.
He’s not spitting fire against the media.
But such zeal to defend is wanting in the reaction of Malami, the chief petitioner and antagonist in the Buhari epic war on corruption which the main opposition PDP describes as a farce.
If anything, the AGF is taking things personally.
According to him, it’s been a gut-wrenching experience watching the media feast of counter-allegations of corruption, abuse of office, and wealth many believe he cannot account for —or which he is been pressured to account for.
“The publications have subjected him considerable distress, psychological trauma, anxiety and greatly injured his character and reputation,” his media office said during the week.
He considers his own share of the media angst, largely stimulated by the blind investigation of Magu, “a seeming coordinated internet/social media attack on him on [since] July 10, 11 and 12, 2020.
Among other media platforms, particular news media (known to Noble Reporters Media) has been dishing out stories and pictures of landed properties in Kano, Kebbi, Abuja it claims belong to the AGF and his family—just within five years of becoming justice minister.
He was equally alleged to have released illegal oil bunkering vessels the EFCC impounded while the case was still in court.
But Malami insisted that the articles were defamatory, with intention to ridicule him before the world.
“He still receives several telephone calls and visits from well-meaning Nigerians, his friends and associates from all over the world,” his lawyer Ibrahim Ameh wrote in a petition to IGP Ibrahim Adamu.
He urged the IGP to probe the defamatory and libelous publications.
But critics of the administration will want him to respond to the allegation. They even want Buhari to probe him too, rather than concentrate on Magu and the EFCC alone.
No fewer than 12 directors of the agency have been forced into suspension. They too had no idea why. But Malami, as directed by Buhari, announced the suspension as part of the on-going effort to purge the agency.
Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki has said that Ibrahim Magu took it personally when he was rejected as chairman of the Economic and Financial Commission, EFCC.
Saraki stated this in reaction to a court order which directed the Federal Government to return the assets seized from him.
In a statement issued, Saraki said that the Senate he led followed due process in rejecting Magu for EFCC chairman.
The statement reads: “Today, as always, I thank Almighty Allah as I welcome the judgement of the Federal High Court, Lagos, by the Honorable Justice Rilwan M. Aikawa in which the court dismissed in its totality the application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for a forfeiture order on my home in Ilorin, Kwara state,” he said.
“I am particularly happy that the court specifically ruled that there was no evidence that the property was built with any illicit or stolen funds from the Kwara state government or any other institution or quarter, whatsoever.
“The last five years have been very challenging for me and my family. I have endured and defeated one false allegation and malicious litigation after another, in an ill-motivated persecution, intimidation and harassment, through which some vested interests sought to damage my name and label me with charges of corruption but with the grace of Allah, I have always been victorious.
“I thank God for the outcome of this case which is the fifth victory in cases in which the EFCC was either the main investigating agency or the plaintiff.
“It is obvious that the EFCC leadership under its erstwhile acting chair, Mr. Ibrahim Mustapha Magu decided to take the issue of his non-confirmation by the 8th Senate which I led, personally.
He revealed that his image was tarnished by the EFCC which used the mass and social media against him.
“It was directed at giving the wrong impression about me. As I record yet another vindication by the competent court of law, God’s willing, my focus will now shift to more serious issues,” he said.
“It is important to put it on record that I hold no grudge against any individual for their roles in my trials.
“My experience in the last five years has only strengthened my faith in Almighty Allah, the Nigerian nation and her judiciary which has always risen above the din to give justice at all times and in all situations.”
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has called on Ibrahim Magu, suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to resign as head of the anti-graft commission.
HURIWA explained that Magu’s immediate resignation would salvage the image and reputation of EFCC from further damage.
The prominent rights group made the call in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko and National Director of Media, Zainab Yusuf.
HURIWA warned that Magu’s return to EFCC would make a mockery of President Muhammadu Buhari’s fight against corruption.
HURIWA also called for a probe into assets forfeited while Magu was still in office.
The statement reads: “HURIWA calls on the suspended EFCC Acting Chairman; Ibrahim Magu to resign so as not to destroy what is left of the reputation of the anti-graft agency and the urgent need to expand the scope of investigation on all the cases of assets forfeiture including the serious claim by Chief Emmanuel Nwude that the EFCC under Ibrahim Magu allegedly cornered his assets that were not part of the originally listed assets to be forfeited in the judgment of the Lagos High Court when he was convicted for advance fees fraud including houses of his original family built long before he had issues with the law.”
The rights group also called on Buhari to ensure the independence of key anti-corruption institutions in the country.
Magu was suspended by an investigative panel headed by Justice Ayo Salami, following an indictment by the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.
He was accused of corruption, insubordination, mismanagement of recovered loots among other allegations.
The Nigerian Police are not detaining the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), CP Ibrahim Magu.
Rather, he is being detained by the Justice Ayo Salami Presidential Panel, investigating the activities of EFCC under Magu’s stewardship.
IGP Mohammed Adamu made the startling clarification in a letter to Magu’s lawyer.
The letter dated 14 July was signed by the Principal Staff Officer to the IGP, DCP Idowu Owohunwa.
It was a response to an application for bail by Magu’s counsel, Tosin Ojaomo Esq.
It reads: “Your letter OOC/TOL/89A/07/2020 of July 2020 on the above underlines subject, refers.
“The Inspector General of Police directs that your attention be drawn to the fact that the Nigeria Police Force is not investigating CP Ibrahim Magu (your client), and he is accordingly, not being detained by the Police but by the Presidential Panel that is investigating the activities of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“The Inspector General of Police therefore advises that you consider redirecting your request to the Chairman of the Presidential Panel for appropriate attention.
“I am to convey the assurances of the warmest regards of the Inspector General of Police, please.”
Magu was arrested last week on the orders of the Presidential Panel, probing some alleged financial atrocities in the EFCC.
Detained at the FCID Abuja, he has been facing tough questioning for the second week running, from members of the panel.
A former Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Victor Ubani on Monday faulted President Muhammadu Buhari for keeping suspended graft chief, Ibrahim Magu in charge of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for five years without being confirmed by the Senate.
Ubani, who was speaking on Media tv (known to Noble Reporters Media), said the President should have sought confirmation from the Senate or replaced Magu.
“If you look at the act that created the office of the chairmanship of the EFCC, there is no room for acting capacity,” Ubani said. “Even though people will want to have recourse to the interpretation that if you have power to appoint, you also have the power to put someone in acting capacity.”
Ubani added that, ideally, an acting Chairman should not have been in running for the permanent position.
“In America, if they want to send the name of someone in acting capacity to the senate for confirmation, they will remove that individual and bring in somebody else, pending the time the Senate will confirm or reject,” he said.
“But what happened in Magu’s case is that you sent him for confirmation and the Senate rejected him, and you now kept him in acting capacity for five years. Even if someone has to serve in acting capacity, it shouldn’t be up to a year because there must be confirmation as required by law.”
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday affirmed the suspension of Mr Magu as acting Chairman of the EFCC.
Magu’s suspension by the President, which takes immediate effect, was announced in a statement from the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
The minister’s Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Umar Gwandu, who signed the statement, explained that the presidential directive was to allow for an unhindered inquiry by the Presidential Investigation Panel under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act and other relevant laws.
He also revealed that President Buhari has directed the EFCC Director of Operations, Mohammed Umar, to take charge and oversee the activities of the commission.
Meanwhile, Mr Magu, through his lawyer, has since written to the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to release him on bail after spending several days in detention.
Suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr Ibrahim Magu, failed to give a proper account of recovered properties in March, 2018, with 332 out of the 836 missing.
Noble Reporters Media gathered on Sunday that the latest allegation against the suspended EFCC boss was contained in a report of the Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets.
It also stated that the panel alleged that recovered properties were taken over by some top EFCC officials or sold to Magu’s friends and cronies at giveaway prices.
The news agency had, on Saturday reported that the panel, in its report titled, ‘Final Report of the Presidential Investigation Committee on the EFCC Federal Government Recovered Assets and Finances from May 2015 to May 2020,’ alleged that Magu was unable to account for the interest generated from N550bn cash recovered from 2015 to 2020.
President Muhammadu Buhari set up the Justice Ayo Salami-led committee, which is currently investigating allegations of corruption against Magu, after the panel on the audit of recovered assets submitted its report.
Besides the Chairman, Alhaji Abdullahi Ibrahim, other members of the previous committee were Deputy Inspector General Anthony Ogbizi; a member from the Federal Ministry of Justice; Mualledi Dogondaji from the EFCC; Hassan Abdullahi from the Department of State Services; an unnamed member from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation; Chinedu Ifediora from the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, while Mr Kazeem Attitebi served as the secretary.
The Salami panel was constituted to enable the suspended EFCC chairman respond to allegations levelled against him in the report of the committee on audit of recovered assets
Audit panel alleges massive wastage and deterioration of cars, other recovered assets
NRM learnt on Sunday that PCARA’s report indicated that there was massive wastage and deterioration of physical assets including landed properties, cars and vessels recovered by the EFCC due to poor management.
It also noted that the EFCC failed to preserve and realise the economic value of the recovered assets, noting that some of the assets were recovered over 15 years ago and left fallow
Magu’s EFCC allows millions of dollar vessels to sink despite Navy’s warnings
The report stated, “A disturbing example is the two vessels that allegedly sunk at the NNS Beecroft Naval Base, Lagos and the NNS Pathfinder Naval Base in Port Harcourt without trace under the watch of the acting Chairman of the EFCC.
“The vessels named MT GOOD SUCCESS, MV PSV DERBY and MV THAMES were allowed to sink in spite of several warnings from the Navy on the need to evacuate the petroleum products in the vessels.
“The total value of the assets lost due to the negligence runs into millions of the United States dollars
“The (suspended) acting Chairman has yet to provide a report on what happened to these vessels,” the report said.
According to Media (known to Noble Reporters Media), PCARA’s report also revealed that the few consultants hired by the EFCC were not managing a substantial number of the recovered assets and that the EFCC had no capacity to manage the entire assets on its own.
The committee, therefore, alerted the nation to the economic and environmental implications of this negligent of duty by the commission.
It also stated that the EFCC made conflicting submissions or returns to it in respect of the non-cash assets which substantially affected the committee’s assignment.
The report read in part, “For instance, the EFCC stated 836 as the number of recovered properties in the original returns it made to the President on July 4, 2017.
“However, in its first returns to PCARA on December 13, 2017, the EFCC short changed the system and gave the figure of 339 thereby failing to account for 497 properties
“It is interesting to note that when the acting chairman was further queried on this lapse, he made further contradictory second return of 504 on March 9, 2018 thereby bridging the gap to 332 properties.’’
The committee identified lack of internal control mechanisms/systems within the EFCC and the lack of adequate returns by the EFCC departments and zonal offices as reasons for these discrepancies and inconsistencies by the commission.
It also alleged that the suspended EFCC boss neglected or refused to comply with the Regulations on the Management of Recovered Assets, 2019 as he embarked on disposing some of the properties without regard to extant law.
It stated, “These regulations were issued in line with international best practices and to ensure that all the anti-corruption agencies report all their recovered assets in a database provided by the Federal Government.
“It is important to note that the (suspended) acting chairman in apparent disregard of the regulation is disposing of these properties without regard to extant laws, and regulations and without reference to the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and in effect, there is no way to have an audit of the property.
Committee alleges Magu attempted to hide exact figure of recovered assets
“This is also a clear sign that there is a deliberate attempt to hide the exact figures of recoveries, which is an indication of fraudulent intent.
“These actions of the (suspended) acting Chairman in refusing the regulations are a clear case of refusal to follow lawful instructions and directives contrary to the provisions of the Act that establishes the EFCC,’’ NRM stated, quoting a separate report on the matter, addressed to the President.
Magu’s friends, cronies bought properties at giveaway prices
The report stated, “Most of the recovered assets are allegedly sold without anyone knowing and without proper records and without recourse to the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing that has the mandate to undertake evaluation of such properties.
“Some of the assets have been taken over by the EFCC officials while some are sold at giveaway prices to friends and cronies of the acting chairman.
“It is also on record that the (suspended) acting chairman is maintaining different accounts, including using proxies who return the benefits of the sold assets to him.
“These funds are then used to procure property and lands in the names of some of his proxies,’’
NRM also gathered that one of the investigative committees set up by the President to look into the activities of the EFCC under Magu, alleged that the suspended EFCC boss turned the commission into a ‘glorified police station’ for alleged selfish motives.
According to the report of the committee, Magu has continued seconding police officers to the EFCC in spite of the massive recruitment of officers and men carried out by the commission in recent years.
It stated, “The blatant display of arrogance and acquisition of illicit wealth have turned the EFCC into a glorified police station.
“Despite massive recruitment of officers and men in recent years by the (suspended) acting chairman at the EFCC, he is still seconding police officers to the EFCC because he is comfortable with his fellow officers to carry out his illicit activities.
“He does not have any exit strategy for the police even though the EFCC officers are more experienced in the investigation of economic and financial crimes,’’ the report further noted.
His continued detention unconstitutional, says Oyetibo
But a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Tayo Oyetibo, on Sunday faulted the continued detention of Magu.
In a statement titled, “Magu still has rights,” Oyetibo contended that notwithstanding the weighty allegations against Magu, his detention beyond 24 hours without being charged to court was a violation of the constitution.
The SAN said though the EFCC under Magu was notorious for long detention of suspects in violation of Section 35 of the Nigerian constitution, “the law of karma has no place under our constitutionalism.”
He said, “Amidst the cacophony of allegations of serious crimes made against Magu, the law of Nigeria still speaks the same language which is expressed in Section 35 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which provides to the effect that every person who is arrested or detained upon reasonable suspicion of his having committed a criminal offence shall be brought before a court of law within a period of 24 hours in the case of an arrest in a place where there is a court of competent jurisdiction within a radius of 40 kilometres otherwise he ought to be released on bail.
Falana denies receiving N28m from Magu, threatens libel suit
In a related development, a human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), on Sunday denied receiving N28m from the suspended acting chairman of the EFCC.
Falana, in a pre-action letter signed by his lawyer, Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika (SAN) of Citipoint law firm, demanded a retraction of the claim by a newspaper which published a story suggesting that Magu had paid the sum of N28m to him from the money allegedly siphoned from the EFCC.
The letter with the title, “Pre-action demand regarding your defamatory imputations against Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, in your online publication, titled, ‘More trouble for Magu as new facts on re-looting of recovered funds emerge’,” threatened to institute a legal action against the newspaper should it fail to apologise to him and publish a retraction of the story on its front page within 48 hours.
Olumide-Fusika stated in the letter that he received Falana’s “immediate instruction” to demand that “you (the newspaper’s editor) acknowledge your wrongdoing, expressly admit that what you imputed against my client was false, and apologise for your unprofessionalism and the damage you have caused to him”
“I do hope that you will, within the next 48 hours, comply with this gentlemanly request by publication on the front page of your newspaper. Failing compliance, my instruction is to issue a Writ in the tort of defamation in order to afford you an opportunity to prove what you imputed against his my client’s character,” the letter added.
The newspaper’s story was based on a report published by Media (known to Noble Reporters Media), which claimed to have obtained the final report of a prior presidential panel allegedly indicting Magu for being unable to account for the interest generated from N550bn cash recovered from 2015 to 2020.
Olumide-Fusika stated in his pre-action letter that the newspaper, by its publication “meant and intended to mean and convey” to its readership that Magu allegedly used a bureau de change operator to pass the sum of N28m to Falana in an alleged money laundering scheme.
Falana’s lawyer described the publication as “damning against my client because his entire career as a lawyer has been devoted to fighting human rights abuses and corruption in high and low places”.
Also, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), on Sunday, justified his last year’s auctioning approval to some operators in the oil industry to sell five sea vessels holding crude oil and diesel forfeited to the Federal Government.
The statement by Malami’s Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Umar Gwandu, was reacting to a story of how the AGF directed Omoh-Jay Nigeria Ltd. to dispose of the crude oil and diesel in four sea vessels through an open bid.
The story disclosed that in another approval, the AGF mandated the firm to sell five vessels despite the fact that the firm and its Managing Director, Mr Jerome Itepu, stood trial at the Delta State High Court, Asaba, for allegedly stealing about 12,000 metric tonnes of crude oil loaded in a vessel, MT Akuada a.k.a. MT Kua.
The allegedly stolen crude oil was valued at N384m in 2009.
The auctioneer was to get three per cent of the sale.
But Malami said on Sunday said he committed no infraction by granting the auctioning approval to Omo-Jay and its officials even if they were being prosecuted for alleged theft of crude oil.
He also said the firm having not been convicted, was presumed to be innocent of criminal allegations that might have been levelled against them.
He added the firm being duly registered, could not be denied an opportunity to participate in the auction bidding process.
His statement read in part, “The issue of interest to the public, of which a serious journalist needs to support the general public to know is whether Omoh-Jay being a duly registered company can be denied an opportunity to participate in the auction bidding process on a purported account that the company is standing trial (not convicted) by a competent court of the land if indeed as claimed by Media (known to Noble Reporters Media), the company is being criminally tried.”
Femi Falana, SAN, has denied receiving N28 million from Ibrahim Magu, the suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
A Presidential Investigation Committee revealed that assets recovered by the EFCC from May 2015 to 2020 shows that Falana received N28 million.
It reads: “The link to Magu was also established by the payment of N28 million to Falana who is a close associate and ally of the Acting Chairman,’’ it revealed.
Falana has now demanded a retraction of the claim by issuing a statement through lawyer Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika (SAN).
“My client acknowledges that just as his anti-corruption activism have won him friends, they have also bred enmity from those who see things from a different perspective and have therefore always tried to paint and present him (or anyone that strives or claims to be different) as someone that is also not free from the stains of corruption! Not long ago, these elements invented and spread through the media the lie that my client was a beneficiary of a property purchased from the EFCC. When given the opportunity to prove the allegation, the publisher failed to take up the opportunity but apologized for the false publication. I am not too sure that your case will turn out different if you permit it to degenerate to the level of being sued.
“In the circumstance, my immediate instruction is to demand that you acknowledge your wrongdoing, expressly admit that what you imputed against my client was false, and apologize for your unprofessionalism and the damage you have caused to him.
“I do hope that you will, within the next 48 hours, comply with this gentlemanly request by publication on the front page of your newspaper. Failing compliance, my instruction is to issue a Writ in the tort of defamation in other to afford you an opportunity to prove what you imputed against my client’s character.”
Unknown to Ibrahim Magu, President Muhammadu Buhari had directed the Department of State Services (DSS) to investigate him as far back as 2018, TheCable can report.
The DSS, which has a financial crimes unit, played the central role in unearthing the allegations for which the suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is now facing a presidential probe.
The president was said to have been shocked when the DSS provided a comprehensive dossier on Magu which was “damning”.
“If Magu was a man who can read the signs, he should have asked himself why the president did not re-present his name to the senate for confirmation as EFCC chairman since the new national assembly was inaugurated,” a senior presidential source told TheCable.
The current senate has never turned down any nominee of the president, unlike the previous one which refused to confirm Magu.
However, it would appear Magu eventually got wind of the moves against him as he tried to ingratiate himself with the president.
“He came to the mosque at the presidential villa to say Jumaat prayers along with the president on June 5, but the president was not very comfortable with it,” the source said.
“President Buhari prefers to pray with his family and personal aides, so he was not happy when Magu wangled his way to the mosque after the partial lifting of lockdown.
“An instruction was then issued that he should not be allowed to come to the mosque.”
The trigger for the DSS investigation, according to the source, was the report of the presidential committee on audit of recovered assets.
The three-member committee was inaugurated on November 22, 2017 by Buhari to audit all assets recovered by agencies of the federal government from May 29, 2015 when his government was inaugurated.
The committee was headed by Olufemi Lijadu, with Mohammad Nami and Gloria Bibigha as members.
Lijadu is now the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) while Nami was appointed chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
Bibigha works in the office of the auditor-general of the federation.
The committee submitted its report six months behind schedule because of the extent of the work, and the aspect on EFCC “took the president by surprise”.
The report said the EFCC reported a total naira equivalent of N46,038,882,509.87, while the naira equivalent of the foreign currency lodgements were N37,533,764,195.66, “representing a shortfall of N8,505,118,314.21″.
“These inconsistencies cast a serious doubt on the accuracy of figures submitted by the EFCC. It is the committee’s view that the EFCC cannot be said to have fully accounted for cash recoveries made by it,” the report noted.
“While EFCC reported total Naira recoveries of N504,154,184,744.04, the actual bank lodgements were N543,511,792,863.47. These discrepancies mean that EFCC’s actual lodgement exceeded its reported recoveries by N39,357,608,119.43.”
Buhari immediately asked the DSS to investigate Magu.
While DSS identified several properties allegedly owned by Magu in Dubai, the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) played a major role in providing intelligence on his alleged financial dealings.
NFIU, the central national agency that handles disclosures and intelligence in the financial sector, used to be under the EFCC but was excised and made an independent body in July 2018 despite Magu’s opposition.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says Ibrahim Magu, the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), must be made to answer for alleged corruption and violation of rules.
PDP, in a statement issued by Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, its National Publicity Secretary, in Abuja, said that Magu must also answer for allegations of victimisation of Nigerians and stealing of recovered funds for which he has been suspended.
“There are insinuations in the public space that the indicted EFCC boss was also harassing certain judges to get a conviction on cases.
“Similarly, there are several cases of officers and ranks of the commission whose employment in the service were unjustly suspended or terminated,” Ologbondiyan alleges.
He added: “The PDP also wants an investigation into the alleged connection between the indicted EFCC boss and certain judges handling EFCC cases.
“What Nigerians expect at this time is for the Federal Government to ensure Magu’s prosecution in court.
“Nigerians expect the government to take necessary and decisive steps to restore the integrity of the EFCC.
“This should be done by ensuring that Magu’s replacement as EFCC Chairman is thoroughly screened to avoid a similar development in the future.
A report by the Presidential Probe Panel has shown details of how Ibrahim Magu, the suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), allegedly used a cleric to launder funds abroad.
Magu is currently being interrogated by the panel headed by retired Justice Ayo Salami over allegations of lack of transparency in managing recovered assets and mismanagement of EFCC.
A copy of the report gathered by NRM made available on Saturday in Abuja disclosed that the founder of the Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministry, Abuja, Dr Emmanuel Omalewas was used by Magu to launder funds.
Omale’s name was uncovered through an investigative report on EFCC’s activities by the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and mentioned in the final report of the Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets (PCARA).
The report added that the unknown Pastor is alleged to have bought a landed property on behalf of Magu worth N573 million in Dubai, United Arab Emirate.
“Another individual who is helping in laundering funds for the Acting Chairman and who has been referred to in several petitions is one Pastor Emmanuel Omale of the Hand of God Prophetic Ministry.
“He’s reported to have travelled to Dubai with Mr Magu, and his name was used in purchasing a property in Dubai for Mr Magu.
“As an unknown pastor, the NFIU’s report showed the huge movement of funds ranging from N573,228,040.41,” the report said.
However, efforts had been intensified to reveal the real identity of the Pastor and to arraign him for prosecution if found culpable.
Magu is being held at the Police headquarters in Abuja.
He is expected to reappear before the Salami probe panel on Monday, to defend himself against several allegations.
New facts have unfolded on the alleged sale of forfeited assets by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission which pitted the two government institutions against each other.
Investigations revealed that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), and the suspended EFCC Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, at different times gave separate authorisations for the sale of seized assets.
Rather than harmonise the disposal of assets forfeited by alleged looters and other individuals arraigned on charges of financial and cyber crimes, findings indicated that their respective offices had separately invited auctioneers to bid for the sale of luxury homes, cars, trucks, sea vessels, crude oil and other valuables running into billions of naira.
The Ministry of Justice and the EFCC had placed several auction notices in the Federal Tenders Journal and other media inviting the public for auction sales of some seized assets.
In February 2018, for instance, the ministry placed an advertisement inviting auctioneers, marine engineers, valuers and consultants for valuation and disposal of vessels, ships, boats, trucks, vehicles and petroleum products. The notice was placed on a subscription-based online portal, https//:234business.com.
The ministry hinged the move on the decision of the Federal Government to “clear its territorial waters, ports, dockyards, agency offices/stations and highways of obsolete and unauthorised vessels, barges, boats, ships, trucks, vehicles and the cargo in furtherance of National Security of the Federation and recovery of its assets policy.”
On December 19, 2019, the anti-graft agency auctioned 244 trailers and tankers forfeited to the Federal Government by illegal oil dealers. Eleven auctioneers participated in the bid.
The exercise was inaugurated by the commission secretary, Mr Ola Olukoyede, together with a team of senior officers at the EFCC zonal office in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The agency issued a press statement on the exercise. A copy of the notice was also published on its website.
In November 2019, Magu also announced that his agency would contract international auction houses to sell the jewellery reportedly worth $40m recovered from ex-petroleum minister, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, together with seizures made from Internet fraudsters, having secured a forfeiture order from the Federal High Court on September 10.
Magu stated this during a conference at the Lagos office of the commission, where he briefed the stakeholders on the crusade against cybercrime and fraudsters. The jewellery includes 419 bangles, 315 rings, 304 earrings, 267 necklaces, 189 wristwatches, 174 earrings, 78 bracelets, 77 brooches and 74 pendants; as well as luxury houses in Nigeria, United States and in the United Kingdom.
Sources said the refusal of Magu to involve the AGF in the disposal of the forfeited assets largely informed the rift between them, which led Malami to write a memo to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), in which he reportedly levelled 22 allegations against the embattled EFCC boss, who is a commissioner of police.
Following the development, the President set up a fact-finding panel headed by a retired President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, and six other members, including DIG Mike Ogbizi, Hassan Abdullahi (representing the Department of State Services), Douglas Ekwueme (Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit), Mallam Shamsudeen (OAGF), Mohammed Abubakar (Ministry of Justice) and Kazeem Atilebi (civil society groups).
Magu has been held in police custody since Monday and currently undergoing interrogations over what was said to include the unapproved sale of recovered assets.
The embattled EFCC boss was said to have been accosted on Monday by operatives of the Department of State Services in front of the old EFCC headquarters on Fomella Street, Wuse 2, Abuja, around 12pm and whisked to the venue of the panel sitting. The panel’s investigation is holding behind closed doors in one of the conference rooms in the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Meanwhile, documents obtained on Friday indicated that the AGF last year granted approval to some operators in the oil industry to sell five sea vessels holding crude oil and diesel forfeited to the Federal Government.
The vessels valued at millions of naira and laden with tonnes of crude oil and diesel were seized by security agencies from illegal oil bunkering operators during different operations. In separate documents, the AGF directed Omoh-Jay Nigeria Ltd. to dispose of the crude oil and diesel in four sea vessels through an open bid.
In another approval, the AGF mandated the firm to sell five vessels despite the fact that the firm and its Managing Director, Mr Jerome Itepu, stood trial at the Delta State High Court, Asaba, for allegedly stealing about 12,000 metric tonnes of crude oil loaded in a vessel, MT Akuada a.k.a. MT Kua, valued at N384m in 2009. The auctioneer was to get three per cent of the sale.
The EFCC had in 2015 arraigned four persons on charges of conspiracy, stealing and receiving stolen goods. The accused included a businessman and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress in Edo Central Senatorial District, Chief Francis Inegbeneki; Chief Executive Officer of Omoh-Jay Nigeria Ltd., Mr Jerome Itepu; Omoh-Jay Nigeria Ltd. and Ine Oil Ltd. owned by Inegbeneki.
The suit, numbered A/EFCC/1c/2015, was filed on March 24, 2015 by A.J. Arogha, Esq. and U.R. Ewoh, Esq. on behalf of the EFCC. The accused were charged with “conspiracy, contrary to, and punishable under section 516 of the Criminal Code Law, CAP C21, Laws of Delta State 2006.”
According to the anti-graft commission, the accused, sometime in 2009, at Warri, Delta State, within the jurisdiction of the court, allegedly conspired to “commit a felony, to wit: stealing and, thereby, committed an offence.”
It stated, “They were alleged to have committed the offence of stealing, contrary to section 383 of the Criminal Code Law, CAP C21, Laws of Delta State 2006, which is punishable under section 390(4)(c) of the same law.
“According to the particulars of the offence, they allegedly stole about 12,000 metric tonnes of crude oil loaded in a vessel, MT Akuada a.k.a. MT Kua, valued at N384m in 2009, being the property of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
The third count indicated that the accused also allegedly stole about 4,000 metric tonnes of crude oil, loaded in a vessel, MT Hope, valued at N128m belonging to the Federal Government. Inegbeneki, the second accused in the charge sheet, was also charged with allegedly receiving stolen goods contrary to, and punishable under section 427 of the Criminal Code Law, CAP C21, Laws of Delta State 2006, “having allegedly received from one Itepu (first accused) and Omoh-Jay (third accused), about 12,000 metric tonnes of crude oil, knowing same to have been stolen.”
However, findings by one of our correspondents indicated that the AGF authorised Omoh-Jay Nigeria Ltd. to auction the forfeited vessels.
In a letter dated April 3, 2019, with reference no. HAGF/ARMU/RMDOVSC/2018/T addressed to the Chief of Naval Staff, Nigerian Navy, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, the AGF said Omoh-Jay Ltd. had been granted approval to conduct an open bid and solicited the cooperation of the navy.
The letter signed by Malami, titled ‘Re: Suit no. FHC/ABS/CS/742/2017 FRN and Anor. vs unknown persons (arrested vessels), was received by the CNS on the day it was signed.
It read, “Please be informed that Omoh-Jay Nigeria Ltd. has been granted approval to conduct an open bid for content only for the following vessels: MT Asteris with crude oil, MV PSV Derby with Automated Gas Oil (diesel), MV Zahra with AGO and MV Long Island with AGO (with leave of court).
“For the purpose of disposal of the products under reference, the Office of the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice requests the Chief of Naval Staff to kindly grant access and necessary support as always for the whole process.”
In the second approval, Malami directed Omoh-Jay Nigeria Ltd. to conduct another open bid for five sea vessels, three of which were laden with crude oil and diesel.
The letter addressed to the MD of Omoh-Jay Ltd, dated September 9, 2019, with reference HAGF/ARMU/NSA/2018/1, was also signed by the Justice Minister. It was titled, ‘Re: Report on suit no. FHC/ABS/CS/742/2017 FRN and Anor. v unknown persons (arrested vessels).
It read in part, “Pursuant to your earlier instruction dated September 12, 2018, on the above subject matter, you are hereby instructed further to conduct an open bid sale for the following vessels: MT Asteris with crude oil, MV PSV Derby with Automated Gas Oil, MV Zahra with AGO, MT Peace and MV Anuket Emerald.”
It further directed the firm to revert with offers to the AGF for final approval before the conclusion of the sale. “Be informed that the success fees remain three per cent of the total value recovered from the auction. You are, therefore, expected to submit acceptance letter within 72 hours of the receipt of this instruction,” Malami directed.
However, our correspondents could not confirm the current status of the case between the EFCC and Omoh-Jay Nigeria Limited as well as other co-defendants as of the time of filing this report on Friday. Reacting on behalf of the AGF, in respect of the approval to Omoh-Jay Ltd, his media aide, Dr Umar Gwandu, simply asked one of our correspondents to make a formal request.
“You are also encouraged to support the enquiry with evidence of criminal conviction. This will assist investigation and decision in considering them for auction or otherwise in view of constitutional presumption of innocence until otherwise established,” he noted.
On the lack of synergy between the AGF and EFCC on assets disposal, Gwandu argued that recovery agencies were unified by existing regulation in assets recovery put in place to regulate their processes and procedure in recovery and disposal of recovered assets.
He stated, “It is out of place to conclude that there is no collaboration. Failure to work on existing regulation that forced collaboration, transparency, accountability and uniformity can, therefore, at best be adjudged as an act of breach.”
Asked specifically why the AGF and Magu were independently authorising auction of assets, he responded, “Submit your enquiry with documents to back your claim.”
The EFCC spokesman, Dele Oyewale, had yet to respond to inquiries regarding sale of assets without recourse to the AGF as of the time of filing this report.
When contacted on the status of the case involving Omoh-Jay Ltd. and other defendants, an EFCC lawyer, A. Latona, declined comment. “Make your inquiry official, please; I don’t respond to questions on the phone,” he said on Friday night.