Magu: Panel Widens Probe

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ACTING Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu was on Wednesday grilled for the third day over allegations levelled against him by Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami.

He was quizzed for more than 10 hours, it was learnt, after which he was returned to the custody of the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) where he is being detained.

The panel has expanded the scope of the probe by inviting top officials of the EFCC and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to respond to questions as may be relevant to the departments they supervise.

Some of the allegations against Magu are:

  • 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
  • Alleged issuance of investigative activities to some media prejudicial to some cases.

Those invited by the Justice Ayo Salami-led Presidential Investigation Committee which has been conducting its sittings at the Presidential Villa Banquet Hall, are EFCC Secretary Ola Oluyede and Director of Operations, Mr. Mohammed Umar. The others are: Director of Finance and Administration, the Director of Internal Affairs, some Zonal/Sectional heads, heads of departments/units and the NFIU.

It was learnt that Chairman of the panel, Justice Salami, a former President of the Court of Appeal, assured Magu and others of fair hearing.

He was quoted as saying that the team would be open-minded and ensure justice for all.

The panel, also clarified that it had no information that Magu had been suspended from office.

Magu, it was learnt had promised to make available documents and files as may be requested. He is also believed to have told the panel that he never disobeyed the minister of Justice.

He also said he never threatened judges, especially Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako, who the AGF referred to in his memo to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Findings indicated that Magu was accorded courtesies by the panel which stated that it had no pre-determined agenda.

Justice Salami was quoted by sources as reaffirming that his panel was on fact-finding and will be open-minded.

He also said they had no bias but to ensure that justice is served to all.

According to one of the sources, being a large commission. It was the  embattled EFCC chair that reiterated that he would  want the  panel to invite all relevant heads of departments, heads of investigating unit, zonal heads and the NFIU to respond to specific allegations concerning their departments or units.

He said he opted to do so to demonstrate that he adopted a teamwork approach without personal gains.

Magu’s request was granted by the committee, leading to invitation being extended to them.

Part of Magu’s response to the allegations is that he reportedly told the committee that he  never disobeyed the AGF. He promised to make documents available to support his claim.

Regarding threats to judges, Magu was quoted to have said: “I have never threatened any judge. I also did not threaten Justice Binta Nyako. There was a case before her, the EFCC was uncomfortable with the treatment of the matter and raised some observations on the need to reassign the case to another judge. The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court looked at the EFCC’s complaints and exercised his discretion.”

Concerning the Process and Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID) $9.6billion judgment debt against Nigeria on the failure of a $6.6billion gas contract, Magu was said to have claimed that it was a 2010 case which preceded him in office having been appointed EFCC Chairman in 2015.

Sources at the panel said Magu insisted that there are documentary evidence that he did not delay the investigation of P&ID. He said he promptly investigated the matter.

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