Nigeria’s fiery human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, is irked by the role of the Directorate of State Service (DSS) in stultifying the appointment of Ibrahim Magu as the substantive Chairman of Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).
He therefore said that it was high time DSS was restrained by President Muhammadu Buhari from sabotaging the fight against corruption by the federal government.
The senators hinged their second time rejection of Magu on another security report from DSS which questioned the integrity of the anti-corruption czar.
Falana added that Magu’s rejection was a ridicule to the office of the president.
“The rejection of the nomination of Mr Ibrahim Magu as the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by the senate on the basis of a security report compiled by DSS is the height of official ridicule of the office of the president,” he said.
Falana also queried the sense in allowing senators under corruption investigation to participate in the screening of the Acting Chairman of EFCC.
He said that such senators should not have been allowed to determine the fate of Magu, who unanimously rejected the Acting Chairman for the second time.
“The confirmation hearing hurriedly conducted is illegal in every material particular. The participation of many senators who are either under investigation or being prosecuted by the EFCC has vitiated the entire proceedings of the senate on ground of conflict of interest.
“It is also a contravention of the rules of the senate which stipulates that matters which are sub judice shall not be discussed by the senate.”
He urged Buhari to re-nominate Magu or allow him to keep working in acting capacity.
Falana said: “Notwithstanding the rejection of the nomination of Magu by the senate, the president could represent Magu when the government put its house in order.”
“Alternatively, the president may allow Mr. Magu to remain the acting chairman of the EFCC since he was appointed in that capacity pursuant to section 171 of the constitution.
“But if the president is not satisfied with Mr. Magu’s performance he is at liberty to appoint another person whose nomination will be forwarded to the Senate in accordance with section 2 (3) of the EFCC Act, 2004.
“In the light of the foregoing, President Buhari is enjoined to ensure that the fight against corruption is not derailed by highly placed corrupt elements who have enlisted the support of fifth columnists and reactionary forces in the government.”
Not minding the pains of is rejection, the embattled EFCC’s boss noted that would continue as much as possible to fight corruption in line with the Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’s plan.
He told a coalition of civil society groups at the entrance to the National Assembly, that his priority was to fight corruption. “My confirmation has not changed anything.”
“We have always been on duty I will work until the last day whether confirmation or no confirmation.
“The greatest violation against human right is crime against the society and the humanity but everybody has a duty and responsibility to fight corruption and I also has a responsibility. I assure you that we will fight to finish.
“We will never be deterred because what we are doing is trying to investigate what has gone before and protect the future of our children and our future generation.
“So, if we don’t work today and fight against corruption, the future is not guaranteed, the future of our children is not guaranteed. So, we must wake up, where ever you find yourself, fight corruption.
“Anytime you discover that I am corrupt, expose me,” he told his detractors.
Magu explained that he had never been invited by DSS to explain some of the issues purportedly raised against him and explained that the principle of rule of law presupposed that he be given fair hearing.
Hereunder is the letter purported forwarded to the Senate
RE: NOMINATION OF MR IBRAHIM MAGU MUSTAPHA AS EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN OF ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL CRIMES COMMISSION (EFCC) SECURITY REPORT OF THE NOMINEE
Your letter NASS/CS /SA/01/17/ 08 /02 dated 7th March 2017 requesting for security report on the above named nominee refers
The security report being requested for on Ibrahim Magu MUSTAPHA the nominee or the Executive Chairmanship position of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has already been submitted to the Senate via this Services’ letter No. SV.114/ 2 of 3rd October 2016 containing fourteen (14) paragraphs.
Please accept once again the assurances of the esteemed regards of the DGSS.
F. O. ADAMS
For: DIRECTOR-GENERAL, SS
August 2008, following a search at his residence during the tenure of Farida WAZIRI (AIG/Rtd) as the commission’s chairman, some sensitive EFCC documents which were not supposed to be at his disposal were discovered. He was subsequently redeployed to the police after days of detention and later suspended from the Force. In December 2010, the Police Service Commission found Magu guilty of “Action prejudicial to state security, withholding of EFCC files, sabotage, unauthorised removal of EFCC files and acts unbecoming of a Police officer,” and awarded him severe reprimand as punishment.
“4. Notwithstanding, sequel to the appointment of Ibrahim Lamorde as Chairman of the EFCC in 2011, he made the return of Magu to the EFCC a top priority. Both men had worked together at the commission when Lamorde served as Head of Operations of the agency. Magu remained a top official of the commission until he was appointed to succeed Lamorde.
“5. Magu is currently occupying a residence rented for N40m, at N20m per annum. This accommodation was not paid for from the commission’s finances but by one Umar Mohammed (Air Commodore/Rtd), a questionable businessman and ally of subject who has subsequently been arrested by this service. For the furnishing of the residence, Mohammed enlisted the Federal Capital Development Authority to award a contract to Africa Energy, a company owned by the same Mohammed to lavishly furnish the residence at the cost of N43m.
“6. Investigations show that the Acting EFCC Chairman regularly embarks on official and private trips through a private carrier, Easyjet, owned by Mohammed. In one of such trips, Magu flew to Maiduguri, alongside Mohammed and the MD of Fidelity Bank, Nnamdi Okonkwo, who was being investigated by the commission over complicity in funds allegedly stolen by the immediate past Petroleum Minister, DiezaniAlison-Madueke.
“7. Furthermore, the EFCC boss has so far maintained a high profile lifestyle. This is exemplified by his preference for First Class air travels. On 24th June, 2016, he flew Emirate Airlines’ First Class to Saudi Arabia to perform the Lesser Hajj at the cost of N2,990,196. This is in spite of Mr. President’s directive to all public servants to fly Economy Class.
“8. Investigation also revealed that Magu parades a twin personality. At one level, he is the czar who has no friends, no favourites and is ready to fight corruption to a standstill. However, with a key friend in the person of Umar Mohammed (Air Commodore/Rtd), a controversial businessman, he has betrayed the confidence reposed in him by the present administration. Whereas Magu portrays himself as very secretive, he has fostered a mutually beneficial relationship with Mohammed who, by his confession, approaches ‘clients’ for possible exploitation, favours and associated returns. This was facilitated with official secrets divulged by Magu and from which dealings he is believed to have been drawing considerable benefits.
“9. This was evidenced by the number of official and classified documents he made available to his associates, especially Mohammed. After a search of Mohammed’s premises, a forged letter of the Office of the Vice President, dated 20th May, 2016, was recovered. The letter was a fictitious investigation report from Vice President to Mr. President, requesting for approval to commence further probe into a matter allegedly involving Hon. Minister of State Petroleum. Attached to the letter were two EFCC letters dated 13th April, 2016, and another 24th March, 2016, addressed to the Vice President being investigation reports on the activities of Emmanuel Kachikwu and his brother Dumebi Kachikwu. Similarly recovered during the search were information on assets and personal details of Kachikwu.
10.Also, following the arrest of three former Airforce chiefs by EFCC, namely, Alex Badeh, Umar and Amosu from whom huge sums of money and property were recovered, Umar and Alex Badeh were arraigned in court. It was only after the arrest of Mohammed by this service that the EFCC hurriedly arraigned Amosu. Mohammed later confessed that he never wanted Amosu tried, describing him as his former boss and he saw in MAGU, a willing accomplice.
“11. Furthermore, findings revealed that in a bid to settle some personal scores, subject placed one Stanley Inye Lawson on a Security Watch Action, while in actual fact Lawson was working in the interest of the Federal Government. However, the action was later expunged following the discovery that Lawson was falsely accused by Magu for personal reasons.
“12. The circumstances surrounding Magu’s return to EFCC at the instance of the former chairman, Lamorde, and their close working relationship ever since is a clear indication of his culpability in the allegations of corrupt tendencies of the Lamorde led EFCC.
“13. To cover his tracks, Magu uses only his police cronies to execute operations. This, coupled with discoveries that such police cronies have acquired a lot of landed property, lends credence to the questions about his integrity.
“14. In the light of the foregoing, Magu has failed the integrity test and will eventually constitute a liability to the anti-corruption drive of the present administration.”