By Chuks Oyema-Aziken and Ralph Izopu
In spite of series of allegations, the suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Alhji Ibrahim Magu, seems to be having sleepless night following a fresh petition on alleged extortion and criminal intimidation against the “Magu Boy”.
In a petition by an Abuja-based lawyer, Barr. Johnmary Jideobi, Magu and his boys were alleged to have unlawfully frozen the bank accounts of a company, Damjay Integrated Services Limited, with the Access Bank in 2018, without a court order.
Already, the petition had been forwarded by the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation to the Justice Ayo Salami-led panel investigating the recovery of assets by the EFCC under Magu.
The petitioner had claimed among others that following the refusal of the bank to unfreeze the account, Magu and EFCC were dragged before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where Justice O. C. Agbaza on November 21, 2018, declared Magu’s action as unlawful, illegal and ordered the immediate unfreeze of the said bank account.
In the petition by the legal practitioner for the company and addressed to the Attorney General of the Federation, Magu was alleged to have “bluntly refused to comply with the order of the court despite not appealing against the judgment”.
Insisting that the EFCC has no power under any Nigerian law to freeze any bank account without order of court, Jideobi claimed that Magu, while as acting chairman, acted with impunity and trampled on the rule of law.
At the peak of the alleged unlawful act, the lawyer claimed that a group of officers operating in the name, “Magu boys” instead of obeying the court order, acted as intermediaries to the company and allegedly demanded N75 million from the account as a condition for lifting the illegal restriction.
The petitioner further alleged that the said “Magu boys” sent three different bank accounts namely: Cikin Gida Nigeria Limited with account number: 1771773211, at Polaris Bank; Black and Black Global Concept Limited with account number: 0259011841 at Gtbank and Amina Kigbu with account number: 2176716071 at the Zenith Bank, for the lodgment of the claimed bribe.
Specifically, the petitioner stated that the alleged “Magu Boys” gave directives that the said N75 million bribe should be paid in three tranches of N25 million each to the three accounts.
“However, following the refusal of the sponsor of the company to dance to the tune, a phantom criminal charge was on June 19, 2020, filed against the company’s sponsor and pending in court.
“It is the aggregation of these ordeals consisting of abuse of investigative powers, extortion, unlawful seizure of a citizens property and flagrant disobedience to order of the court that impelled our client to instruct that the instant petition be tabled before you now that Mr President is desirous of sweeping the EFCC clean and restoring sanity,” he claimed.
The petitioner, therefore, urged the AGF to “lift the unlawful restriction on the account in compliance with the court order, and order an immediate withdrawal of the alleged phantom charge instituted against the petitioner because it was predicated on malice and vendetta than justice”.
The petition dated July 28, 2020, was received in the AGF’s office on July 29, 2020 and copied the Justice Ayo Salami led panel investigating the recovery of assets by the EFCC under Magu, along with the High Court judgment.