…Wants EFCC boss to step aside while investigation is on
…Says memo to Buhari exposes govt hypocrisy
…Magu’s aide defends him, says he should be celebrated
By Dirisu Yakubu
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Friday said the memo by the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, Abubakar Malami, indicting the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, over corruption matters, has further exposed the corruption, deception and hypocrisy the party said pervade the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government.
The party said it is the worst national embarrassment in the history of Nigeria, that the head of anti-corruption agency in an administration that prides itself on zero tolerance for corruption, “is being dragged on allegation of diversion of recovered funds and fraudulent sale of assets seized by the agency.”
In a statement issued by the national publicity secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party noted that Malami’s memo has “exposed the credentials of President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption architecture, rubbished his standing as Africa Union, AU, anti-corruption champion and shattered our national integrity in the international arena.”
The statement further read: “The world can now see that the much hyped anti-corruption fight of the Buhari administration, has been nothing but a huge fraud and a racket by certain persons in the APC administration to harass political opponents, intimidate and extort money from innocent Nigerians and steal public funds.
“Nigerians and the world have further seen why corruption has worsened under the Buhari administration, as copiously documented by credible international organization, including the Transparency International, TI.
“Indeed, our party, Nigerians across board and, of course, members of the international community, have completely lost confidence in President Buhari’s capacity to fight corruption as he has not demonstrated the littlest effort against corruption since he came into office in 2015.
“Instead, Mr. President had continued to run a system that condones corrupt practices by officials of his administration while providing cover for individuals indicted for corruption including those who are now serving as cabinet ministers and other federal appointees in his government.
“The PDP recalled that President Buhari had insisted on Magu as the EFCC Chairman despite his rejection by the Senate over reports by the Department of State Services, DSS, which raised certain integrity issues against him.
“The party further recalled that the DSS report, which was read out on the floor of the Senate, allegedly stated that ‘Magu has failed the integrity test and will eventually constitute a liability to the anti-corruption stand of the current government.’
“Our party therefore holds the latest report coming from none other than the Attorney General of the Federation; the EFCC’s supervising minister, who believably has unhindered access to facts and documents related to the anti-graft issues, must be received by President Buhari as a huge demand on him to clean up the system.
“Moreover, following the allegation of diversion of recovered funds coming from the nation’s Attorney General, the EFCC chairman has lost all moral rectitude to preside over our nation’s anti-corruption agency to investigate and prosecute others until he comes clean of these horrible allegations.
“However, given this administration’s history of concealment and cover for indicted officials, our party enjoins the National Assembly to immediately constitute a joint ad-hoc committee and commence an independent investigation into these alleged disgraceful acts which have the potency of collapsing our nation’s integrity before the comity of nations.
“Our party also calls on Mr. Magu to immediately step aside and submit himself for an independent investigation in order to clear his name.”
It would be recalled that Malami had in a letter addressed to President Buhari earlier in the week, accused Magu of failing the transparency test in the disclosure of recovered assets amongst other alleged infractions.
In the said memo, Malami premised his recommendation for Magu’s removal on sundry ills “ranging from diversion of recovered loot to insubordination and misconduct.” Malami also alleged “accounting gaps or discrepancies of figures concerning recovered assets,” stressing that the EFCC boss is not transparent in the management of recovered loot.”
A national daily reported on Friday that the Justice Minister accused Magu in the memo of “blatant display of arrogance and insubordination to him as supervising Minister of the EFCC.”
Magu was appointed acting chairman of the EFCC on November 9, 2015 and is yet to be confirmed by the Nigerian Senate. The Eight Senate, it would recalled failed to confirm Magu, citing a damning security report on him from the Department of State Services, DSS.
Our Regional Editor, Sunday Daniel reached one of Magu’s aides and he denied any involvement in the release of the memo and expressed serious concern over the attempted blackmail against the chairman instead of celebrating him for his unbridled courage and focus in tackling graft across the country. The aide, who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorized to speak, said that Magu’s fate depends on God not any man. He said: “If a man has relentless fought against powerful and influential persons who had been pilfering the common wealth of the nation, does the president need any memo to convince him to retain him to continue with his good work or would he sack him? Thankfully, the said memo claims Magu declared N39b short of what he recovered but deposited all the amount in the CBN. Does that show that he can go to CBN and withdraw the cash as an individual? the official queried rhetorically.
Attempts also to confirm the origin of the memo from the AGF proved abortive as he neither responded to text messages nor pick calls put across to him. However, a source in the Federal Ministry of Justice, said Malami neither addressed ‘a select team of journalists’ in his office on Thursday nor released any memo to any media house. The source said that although the Justice Minister closed late on Thursday, he did not grant any interview either to anyone until he left office.