The probe of the former EFCC Boss, Ibrahim Magu has proved anxiety in the commission’s headquarters over who takes over as acting chairman.
The anxiety stems from the fact that Magu’s suspension has not been officially communicated to the Head of Operations, Mohammed Umar, who, according to the EFCC Act, is the next in command to the acting chairman, who should act in his absence.
Vanguard gathered that there appears a jostling between the Head of Operations and the commission’s secretary, Ola Olukayode, over who should act in absence of the embattled acting chairman.
Vanguard further gathered that despite a list of three nominees forwarded by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, President Muhammadu Buhari has intensified his search for a possible replacement for the suspended acting Chairman of EFCC.
This was even as a source disclosed to Vanguard last night that President Buhari, On Wednesday, gave the Head of Operations at the EFCC, Mohammed Umar, the nod to assume headship of the anti-graft agency in the interim, pending conclusion of security checks on some names brought to him for consideration.
Umar, a deputy commissioner of Police, is the second most senior officer at the EFCC and Magu’s second-in-command.
It was gathered that Malami was initially opposed to the idea of allowing Umar to hold the fort in the absence of Magu, stressing that as head of Operations of the agency, he played a key role in some of the official infractions he complained about in the memo to President Buhari.
Multiple sources confirmed to Vanguard that Malami’s position was backed by some members of the Federal Executive Council, as they preferred to rather allow Secretary of the EFCC, Ola Olukayode, who is not a police officer, to superintend the affairs of the agency, pending the outcome of an ongoing probe into activities of the commission under Magu.
“The argument was that since the allegation was that most of the alleged rot in the EFCC was perpetrated by a team of selected police officers referred to as ‘Magu-boys’, it would not be wise to allow a policeman to take over Magu’s office.
“They noted that some of the needed proof of evidence could be covered up under esprit de corps, saying it would be better to allow a neutral person head the commission in the interim, pending conclusion of the ongoing investigation by the Justice Ayo Salami-led panel”, the source told Vanguard on the ground of anonymity.
Meanwhile, an attempt by Vanguard to get Malami’s reaction proved abortive, as he neither answered calls placed to his line nor responded to text messages. One of his aides told our corespondent around 7:30 pm on Wednesday that his principal was still at the Presidential Villa and was yet to return from the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting.
It will be recalled that Malami had in an earlier memo to President Buhari, wherein he highlighted about 22 alleged sins of Magu, recommended three persons to head the EFCC.
The AGF had assured President Buhari that his nominees have all it takes to drive the anti-corruption war home.
Top on Malami’s list of a possible replacement for Magu is a retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Sani Usman, who is believed to have been vetted by President Buhari for the job.
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Others, according to reports not disputed by the AGF, included the current Commissioner of Police for the FCT, Bala Ciroma. Ciroma had previously served as the EFCC Head of Operations.
Malami was said to have also pointed out a retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police, AIG, from Kebbi State, as a good candidate for the EFCC top job.
Besides, President Buhari was said to have also considered a retired commissioner of Police in Niger State, Ms. Diseye Nirim-Poweigba. Malami insisted that Magu was no longer fit to retain his position as the anti-graft czar, accusing him of sundry infractions ranging from the alleged diversion of recovered assets, insubordination and gross misconduct.
He had earlier decried Magu’s alleged refusal to transmit some sensitive criminal case-files to his office, notwithstanding the fact that the EFCC is under the supervisory watch of the Federal Ministry of Justice.