For a second time, the senate on Wednesday rejected the nomination of Ibrahim Magu as the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
This was the climax of weeks of anxiety and speculations.
However, signs that Magu’s nomination as EFCC chairman would be rejected became clear on Tuesday when the Department of State Services (DSS) wrote to the senate affirming its security report, which indicted him of corruption.
On Tuesday, Senate President Bukola Saraki announced that a confirmation hearing would be held for him.
This was weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari had asked the senate to reconsider its decision to reject Magu’s nomination.
The senate first rejected Magu’s appointment on December 15, 2016, citing the DSS security report.
In the report, Magu was accused of living in a house paid for by a “corrupt” businessman. He was also accused of extorting money — through a proxy — from suspects.
“Investigation on the chairmanship of Magu revealed that in August 2008 during the tenure of Farida Waziri as the commission’s chairman, some sensitive documents which were not supposed to be at the disposal of Magu were discovered in his house. He was subsequently redeployed to the police after days of detention and later suspended from the police force,” the report read.
“In December 2010, the Police Service Commission (PSC) 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.
A copy of the letter
“Notwithstanding, sequel to the appointment of Ibrahim Lamorde as chairman, he made the return of Magu to the EFCC a top priority. Magu remained a top official of the commission until he was appointed to succeed Lamorde.
“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 retired, a questionable businessman who has subsequently been arrested by the secret service.
“For the furnishing of the residence, Magu enlisted the Federal Capital Development Authority to award a contract to Africa Energy, a company owned by the same Mohammed, to furnish the residence at the cost of N43m.”
The report also said Magu regularly embarked on official and private trips through a jet owned by the “corrupt businessman”.
“Investigations show that the acting EFCC chairman regularly embarked on official and private trips through a private jet owned by Mohammed.
“In one of such trips, Magu flew to Maiduguri alongside Mohammed with a bank MD who was being investigated by the EFCC over complicity in funds allegedly stolen by the immediate past petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
“Furthermore, the EFCC boss has so far maintained a high-profile lifestyle. This is exemplified by his preference for first-class air travels. On 24 June, 2016, he flew Emirate airlines first-class to Saudi Arabia to perform lesser hajj at the cost of N2.9m. This is in spite of Mr President’s directive to all public servants to fly economy class.
“Magu has fostered a beneficial relationship with Mohammed who by his confession approaches clients for possible exploitation, favours and associated returns.”
Owing to the development, the president had directed Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, to investigate the allegations.
Malami submitted his report at the end of the assignment. The president then wrote to the senate re-nominating Magu.
However, the details of the investigation were not revealed in the president’s letter to the senate.
Also, the president did not say why the rejection of Magu’s appointment should be reconsidered in view of the allegations.
After Magu’s re-nomination, the senate, on March 7, wrote to the DSS for another security report on him.
But the secret police re-sent its earlier report indicting the anti-graft czar of corruption. The report got to the upper legislative chamber at 5pm on Tuesday.
The 14th paragraph of the report read: “In light of the foregoing, Magu has failed integrity test”.
TheCable learnt that the senate was hamstrung because of the DSS’ insistence that Magu was not fit to head the anti-corruption agency. Hence, it rejected his nomination a second time.