Friday 23rd June, 2017
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Magu: Hunting the hunter

 Magu: Hunting the hunter

For embattled acting Chairman of the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, confirmation has become a ding-dong affair. CHUKS OYEMA-AZIKEN writes that power play among political actors is likely to affect the ongoing war against graft
 
 For chairman of the Eco­nomic Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, the recent visit to the National Assembly was an anti-climax, arising from his failure to scale the high mountain set up for him by the legislators.
Magu had walked into the National Assembly premises with high hopes that the re­cently found love between President Muhammadu Bu­hari and the leadership of the Senate will work in his favour and ultimately give him the much sought after confirma­tion.
Announcing the decision of the Senate after two hours of a closed-door meeting, spokesperson, Senator Sabi Abdullahi cited unfavourable securi­ty report for rejec­tion of Magu for the EFCC top job. The senators fur­ther went ahead to ask President Muhammadu Buhari to nomi­nate another per­son for the job.
Sabi said the Senate based its decision on secu­rity report available to it. Magu has been in the eyes of the storm of re­cent, with different allegations being peddled around.
Among which is the report by the Department of State Security, DSS, alleging that Magu’s accommodation in Abuja was paid for by a “cor­rupt businessman”.
The DSS also said that Magu flew first class to Saudi Arabia for lesser hajj, contrary to fed­eral government’s directive to its officials not to travel in the elite cabin.
Magu was one of the first set of recruits into the EFCC by Ribadu and headed the very sensitive Economic Gover­nance Unit (EGU), where he
 
 was part of the team that in­vestigated many high profile cases of corruption allegation against politicians including James Ibori of Delta State and the current Senate President Bukola Saraki of Kwara State.
There are also unconfirmed reports that Magu is illegally in possession of confidential EFCC document. Sources say this document contains details of cases against some former governors, ministers and some members of the Na­tional Assembly.
Fingers now point in the di­rection of these set of politi­cians as being behind the rejection of Magu by the senate. There are also reports that Magu, a Kanuri and accountancy gradu­ate of University of Maiduguri is fight­ing a cabal in the presidency that is hands-in-gloves with the na­tional assembly to frustrate his confirmation. These presi­dency officials are alleged to have cases of illegal enrich­ment to contend with. There­fore the coming together of the presidency officials and some legislators may be seen as a fight against a common enemy.
It also comes at a time re­ports that the Attorney-Gen­eral of the Federation, Mallam Abubakar Malami has given the embattled acting EFCC boss 48 hours to respond to the allegations leveled against him by the DSS, hit the air­waves.
Magu recently raised alarm of plots by people he termed mischief makers plotting to cause disaffection between him and the Presidency on one hand, and members of staff of the EFCC on the other hand. According to him, “In the last week or so, the social media has been awash with fictitious reports, all painting an uncanny picture of des­peration by Magu over his purported non-confirmation as substantive chair of the EFCC, and of stricture within the rank and file of the EFCC workforce leading to resigna­tions”
Reacting to allegations that he is intentionally blackmail­ing presidency officials to speedy up his confirmation, the statement from the EFCC said: “The EFCC wishes to put it on record that Mr. Magu does not bully anyone, and has not embarked on any mission aimed at blackmailing “some highly placed personalities in the country such as Emirs, President Muhammadu Bu­hari’s appointees” or any other individual, lowly or highly placed in the society”
Just recently, rumour spread that Magu has been removed from office, attracting denial from the government.
Magu’s case is attracting at­tention with the Convener of Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reforms (CODER), Chief Ayo Opadokun describ­ing the non-confirmation of the acting EFCC Chairman as vengeful by some of the sena­tors who have criminal cases before the anti-graft agency.
“So, you now expect such a Senate to confirm Magu as the substantive EFCC chair. We should understand in the Nigerian Senate of today, of the 109, there are practi­cal evidences that almost one quarter among they are facing criminal prosecution.
The former governors, who are now so-called sena­tors, many of them are facing criminal prosecution. Some other politically-exposed persons are facing criminal prosecution initiated by the EFCC. They in the National Assembly and their collabo­rators, who are not there, are combining forces together to deny Magu the chance of be­ing confirmed”
In his words, Magu said, “I am not afraid of anything. I prefer to die fighting corrup­tion if need be,” he declared. He told some lawyers during a recent visit that some unpatriotic Nigerians, including senior lawyers, had “joined forces with fraudsters and those who looted our com­monwealth by becoming coaches and technical advis­ers on how to escape justice”.
 
In his words, Comrade Ok­pokwu Ogenyi, National Co­ordinator, Coalition for Good Governance and Change Ini­tiative hinged the unfolding drama as a deliberate attempt by some corrupt people to get back at the President and rub­bish the anti corruption war, “the senate based its report on security report. That he has a relationship with an accused. Even the senate had to go into executive session. That he is mere speculation. We believe there is more to it nomina­tion”
Magu’s case in the senate has drawn the first blood, with Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume losing his position as the Senate leader.
Ndume support for con­firmation of Magu drew the wrath of the hawks in the senate, making him a marked man.
After the rejection of anti-corruption czar by the Sen­ate, Ndume came out of the red chambers rubbishing the day’s proceedings. Accord­ing to him: “In the case of Magu, that was not done. We only had a closed-door ses­sion and when we emerged the Senate spokesper¬son claimed that he had been re­jected. I had to set the record straight by saying we never re¬jected the nominee. This is be¬cause you don’t accept or reject a nominee at a closed session. Our votes and pro­ceedings are there as evidence of my claims.”
According to the deposed former senate leader Ndu­me: “I was surprised that such a simple and harmless clarifi¬cation could rattle and anger some of my colleagues,” he said. I thought it wasn’t a big deal to disagree over is­sues. I didn’t realise that that simple matter would snowball into a plot to remove me.
“The other day, somebody mentioned to me that the Senate President had com­missioned Dino Melaye to collect signa¬tures to remove me. I didn’t pay much atten­tion to the informa¬tion be­cause I actually thought it was a joke or a rumour.

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