The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has denied the allegation of conspiring to witch-hunt anyone.
Malami’s Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr Umar Gwandu, faulted the claim in a statement on Monday.
He was reacting to the comments made by a lawyer, Victor Giwa, who claimed that the minister ordered his arrest because he refused to implicate Ibrahim Magu, the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Giwa made the allegation in a statement on Sunday entitled, ‘Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) Is Using Donald Wokoma, My Erstwhile Client Against Me For My Refusal To Testify And Indict Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman of EFCC, At The Justice Ayo Salami Panel Investigating The EFCC Boss’.
He explained that he was invited by the Justice Ayo Salami led panel, which is investigating the corruption allegations against the suspended EFCC boss, on August 18 and 19.
The lawyer, among many other claims, said he was asked to testify against Magu through an alleged conspiracy between the AGF and Donald Wokoma, a former special adviser to the Vice President whom he said he represented and secured a judgement in his favour.
But Gwandu described the allegation against the minister as ‘flimsy’, stressing that they were untrue.
According to him, Malami never met with Giwa and has never discussed any issue with Wokoma, nor asked anybody, personally or by proxy, to engage Giwa to testify against Magu.
The minister’s spokesman insisted that Malami, who did not set up the investigation panel to probe the suspended EFCC boss, was not saddled with any responsibility to procure witnesses for the panel.
“The Attorney-General of the Federation is never a member of the panel nor does it fall within the realm of the AGF’s authority to invite witness(es) for a presidential probe panel.
“The claim by Victor Giwa, Esq is therefore fictitious, unfounded and a figment of the imagination of mischief-makers who want to create unnecessary attention and tarnish the good image of the Attorney-general of the Federation and Minister of Justice and labouring incessantly these days, to falsely cast aspersion on the AGF’s hard-earned reputation,” Gwandu stated.
He, however, challenged Giwa to come and substantiate his allegation with details of when he met with the AGF on the issue, where they met, and how the meeting went.
Gwandu also asked the lawyer to answer whether the minister met him in person or sent a representative, in what capacity was the representative if there was any, and what the terms of their engagement were.
He asked Giwa to reveal what the purported offer to testify against Magu was, how it was made, as well as to name who the witnesses were.
Nobody is entitled to condemn Mr Ibrahim Magu before he is afforded the opportunity to defend himself in the corruption allegations levelled against him.
Mr Wahab Shittu, who is the lawyer to the suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), said this in a statement sent to on Sunday.
He insisted that his client was innocent of the corruption allegations against him, although he has yet to be given the chance to prove his innocence.
The legal practitioner explained that the statement was in reaction to an online publication that the panel led by Justice Ayo Salami investigating Magu had recommended his sack and prosecution to President Muhammadu Buhari.
He noted that following an earlier report of similar nature, the presidential panel advised them to ignore the story.
According to Shittu, the suspended EFCC boss is yet to formally present his defence and proceedings are ongoing, and witnesses are still lined up for next week beginning from Monday.
He decried that despite repeated demands, his client has not been served with copies of allegations against him while the instrument embodying the Terms of Reference was not served on him until 35 days after proceedings had commenced.
The lawyer added that the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, whose memo triggered the proceedings, has yet to be summoned to testify to support the allegations against Magu.
Among other issues raised, Shittu said his client was unable to gain access to official documents and other information necessary for his defence due to his suspension from office.
While the presidential panel was investigating the allegations of corruption against Magu, President Buhari affirmed his suspension from office on July 10.
A statement from the government explained that the presidential directive was to allow for an unhindered inquiry by the panel under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act and other relevant laws.
Read the full statement by Magu’s lawyer below:
23rd August 2020.
SALAMI PANEL CAN’T SUBMIT INTERIM REPORT WITHOUT HEARING FROM MAGU- WAHAB SHITTU
Gentlemen of the Press,
Based on press inquiries on my clients’ response to the story on Media captioned “Exclusive, Salami panel asks Buhari to fire, prosecute Magu for corruption”, we wish to state as follows:
We are unaware of the source of the story and we are actually shocked that such a false story is being orchestrated in the public space, contrary to the stage of ongoing proceedings before the panel. We wish to state with high sense of responsibility that our client is yet to formally present his defence. Proceedings are ongoing and witnesses are still lined up for next week beginning from Monday. Please note that the earlier report of similar import published by The Pilot was brought to the attention of the panel and we were advised by the chairman of the panel to ignore the story. Our attitude is also to ignore this latest story as falsehood not reflecting the realities on ground. We all know that in spite of repeated demands, our client has not been served with copies of allegations against him. The instrument embodying the Terms of Reference was not served on my client until August 8, 2020 (35 days after proceedings have commenced). That the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), whose memo triggered the proceedings, is yet to be summoned to testify to support the allegations against our client. He who “asserts must prove”. That our client was excluded from the initial stages of the proceedings with several witnesses testifying in his absence. That counsel to our client was not allowed to cross-examine many of the witnesses who had testified until recently. That our client is yet to be granted access to petitions/presentations, case files and exhibits admitted in the proceedings. Please note that we have written to the panel to that effect. That our client was accosted on the street and compulsorily requested to appear “immediately” before the panel without opportunity to access documents to adequately prepare his defence. That our client was subsequently detained for ten days after appearing before the panel in unpleasant circumstances. This detention is not covered by the Terms of Reference arising from the instrument constituting the judicial commission of inquiry. That our client, owing to his suspension from office, is unable to have access to official documents and other information necessary for his defence. That cases pending before superior courts of records such as Federal High Court, Court of Appeal and The Supreme Court are being reviewed in the proceedings. We believe that this development is subjudice and unhealthy for our jurisprudence. That witnesses appearing before the panel were not sworn on oath before giving evidence as stipulated under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act, 2004 on whose authority the instrument setting up the Judicial Commission of Inquiry is derived. It is curious and worrisome that an administrative panel of inquiry headed by His Lordship, Justice Ayo Isa Salami, having sat and taken evidence (both oral and documentary) in the past one month, has suddenly metamorphosed into a Judicial Commission of Inquiry. How this comes within contemplation of a commission of the Tribunal of Inquiry Act, 2004 is very questionable. We also raise serious objection to piecemeal release of the so-called interim report in the social media, particularly the WHISTLER online medium which claimed to have seen the interim report. It is instructive to state that the online medium went ahead to recklessly engaged in libelous publication where it listed individuals, and companies that being investigated for corruption by the EFCC allegedly paid bribes to my client. We are shocked that such a libelous publication against my client without hearing from him. This panel must address this weighty issue before the commencement of today’s proceedings. The Salami panel also revealed the identities of eight suspects that allegedly paid the bribes to Magu through pastor Omale and Shanono. Shanono allegedly received NGN570,698,500 from China Zhonghao Nigeria limited through the Zenith Bank account 1018895662 of his company, Ahmed Ibrahim Shanono Investment Ltd. “The transfers were in about 43 tranches between 5th December 2014 and 23rd June, 2015. The china Zhonghao Coy is being investigated by the EFCC for abandoning a road contract awarded to the company by the Zamfara State Government between 2012 and 2019”, the panel noted. An aide to a formal managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Nathniel Uyo, was alleged to have paid the sum of N10 million into an Ecobank Account Number 3912014141 of the Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministry on 09/06/2018. The report said the former NDDC MD “was then being investigated by the EFCC over an alleged attempt to bribe members of the Akwa-Ibom State APC Appeal Committee in Abuja”. Pastor Omale, according to the Salami panel, also received N10 million from a Bureau De Change operator, 7*7 BDC Limited, through his Church’s Ecobank account. The report said that the BDC was being investigated by the EFCC for, “receiving over N1.6 billion (N1,600,000,000), part of the N27 billion (N27,000,000,000) Insurance Premiums looted during the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan”. A former Chairman of the Niger State Pilgrims Agency, Liman Kantigi, who was being investigated by the EFCC for allegedly misappropriating funds during his tenure at the agency, also allegedly paid N200 million bribe to Magu through Shanono. Kantigi, through his company, Sadiq Air Travels, allegedly transferred N200 million into the Access Bank Account of Shanono’s company, the report said. Weeks before paying the alleged bribe, the EFCC was said to have traced N4 billion to two Guaranty Trust Bank accounts linked to Kantigi. A government contractor, A.G Ferrero & Co. had also allegedly paid N213 million to another company belonging to Shanono, Newttech Aluminium and Roofing Service Ltd. “A.G Ferrero & Co. was a contractor to Jigawa State Government during the tenure fo Sule Lamido between 2007 and 2013. Lamido was investigated by the EFCC during the period”. The report said. The Salami panel said Pastor Omale, through his Church, also received N1.3 million from the company being investigated for alleged link to EFCC’s N1.5 billion money laundering case against a former Plateau State Governor, Joshua Dariye. According to the panel, “Apartment Le Paradisi transferred One million three hundred and twenty thousand naira (N1,320,000.00) into Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministry Eco Bank Account Number 3912014143, on 22/04/2014. The company had testified before the EFCC, in respect of a case involving the former Plateau State Governor, Joshua Dariye who was then being investigated for laundering about One billion five hundred million naira (N1,500,000,000.00). Former Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang, was alleged to have paid N30,744,000 to Ahmed Ibrahim Shanono Investment Limited over his investigation for alleged looting of N6.3 billion while serving as governor of the state. Senator Jonah David Jang transferred the sum of thirty million seven hundred and forty-four thousand naira (N30,744,000.00) into the UBA account Number 1018895662 of Ahmed Ibrahim Shanono Investment Ltd, on 18th July 2016. Senator Jang, a former Governor of Plateau State is being investigated by the EFCC for alleged looting of Six Billion three hundred million naira (N6.3bn) belonging to Plateau State Government”, said the report”. The entirety of the publication above is first-class falsehood from the pit of hell. None of the issues arose from the proceedings of the judicial commission of inquiry. I recall Pastor Omale appearing before the panel to confirm openly that none of the transfers into the church’s accounts emanated from Magu and that Magu never donated to his personal or church account. It is also instructive to note that no character by the name Shanono ever appeared before the judicial commission of inquiry. The purveyors of this fake news may assume they are destroying the sterling image of Magu, but I have news for them. Majority of Nigerians however cannot be fooled. I can only refer to the testimony of former SGF Babachir Lawal on Magu thus “But now in the case of Magu, the narrative is that corruption is fighting back. These are the impressions and the consequences of such conducts. Initially, I had the feeling that the system would come after Magu, especially the press and social media. If you are very discerning, you will know they are with him. The preponderance of opinions is in support of Magu’s position. The views being laid out are as if it is a witch-hunt. There are better ways to end Magu’s reign because no matter what anybody tells you, Magu tried. I used to joke that if you are a thief and you are caught by Magu, nobody can release you unless you cut off his hands. – Culled from The Punch Newspapers.
Media front-page lead story of Sunday 23rd August 2020 in a banner headline reported “Magu May Face More Investigations, Criminal Prosecution” I am at a loss of how the paper arrived at this conclusion when it is clear to all that the only thing going for Magu is his innocence. We will not join further issues on the publication with the paper at this stage.
We wish to confirm that the proceedings are still ongoing, and my client is yet to present his defence. We are therefore shocked at the suggestion that an interim report has been submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari. We all know that this is a democracy anchored on respect for the rule of law. Central to the rule of law is the element of fair hearing. Section 36(1) of 1999 Constitution (as amended) is explicit on this. It provides;
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations, including any question or determination by or against any government or authority, a person shall be entitled to a fair hearing within a reasonable time by a court or other tribunal established by law and constituted in such manner as to secure its independence and impartiality.”
We urge those bent on prejudicing the proceedings of the panel by planting false stories in the public space to think of the interest of our country and not prejudge our client whose commitment all along is service to the country. The only thing keeping our client going in spite of the desire of mischief-makers to pitch him unfairly against the authorities is his conviction of his innocence. Please no one is entitled to condemn our innocent client before he is heard or before he is afforded the opportunity of defending himself on the merits.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), is still insisting that the commission’s boss, Ibrahim Magu never said Coronavirus otherwise known as Covid19 is caused by corruption.
Magu was in the news last week after a video of him making the said comment at the commission’s passing out ceremony in Kaduna, surfaced online.
“Corruption is the biggest strategy to human kind. Your Excellency, corruption is worse than all the diseases now running about. And I strongly believe, Your Excellency, that even the coronavirus is caused by corruption.”
The commission initially denied the allegation. Today, the commission has issued a statement insisting that Magu never said Coronavirus was caused by correuption.
In the statement titled, ‘Covid 19: Understanding what Magu said’, the EFCC said Magu only claimed that corruption is worse than cancer and coronavirus.
The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu said that there would be massive fight against corruption in this year 2020.
EFCC Chairman made the statement on Tuesday, 21st of January 2020 during his visit to the the Ilorin Zonal office of the commission in a bid to further ensure efficiency in the system.
Mr Magu noted that no high profile individuals involved in corrupt allegations would be shielded from prosecution, stressing that “all of them would be arraigned as soon as investigations are concluded. There is going to be massive fight against corruption this year.”
He said that the campaign against corruption had just started, noting that more looters would be repatriated back to the country for prosecution
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, was on Friday January 17, 2020, announced as the winner of THISDAY Newspaper’s Institution of the Decade Award.
The Newspaper will present the Award to the Commission in commemoration of its 25th Anniversary which comes up on Monday , January 20, 2020, in Lagos.
Thisday Board said the EFCC, after a painstaking selection emerged the Institution of Decade along with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Twenty four different winners emerged, two in each of the 12 categories announced by the Newspaper.
The Commission’s profile as the strongest anti-corruption institution in Africa earned it the Award after meeting the Board of Editors’ standard.
According to the Board, which considered strength of industry knowledge and professional advice, nominated the Commission based on its public engagement and enlightenment, training and capacity building, sensitisation, arrests, convictions, asset recoveries, prosecution and competence in the fight against corruption.
“Since its establishment in 2003 by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), remains Nigeria’s foremost anti-graft agency”, the Statement read
It also stressed that, “Its zeal to achieve its mission statement of ridding Nigeria of economic and financial crimes and coordinate the domestic effort of the global fight against money laundering and terrorists financing, has birthed a new public order, especially in spending public funds. This new conscience has now earned it the editor’s pick as the institution of the decade”.
In the last decade, the Commission recorded 2,447 convictions; and billions of cash recoveries in local and foreign currencies. It has also addressed financial corruption and money laundering by prosecuting and convicting a number of high-profile corrupt individuals, ranging from Nigeria’s former chief law enforcement officer to several bank chief executives, governors, senators and captains of industries.
The Commission made considerable efforts towards building public consciousness against graft and unbeatable consistence in fighting corruption in Nigeria. It stands tall as the topmost corruption- fighting agency in Nigeria commanding high regards among Nigerians and the International Community.
The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu has reacted to a video of former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose dancing on a cruise ship with a white woman after being granted permission to travel abroad for ‘medical treatment’ by a federal high court.
Special assistant on media and publicity to Mr Magu, Tony Amokeodo told Premium Times that they won’t be reacting to the video on grounds of the anti-graft agency only prosecuting the former governor and not persecuting him.
He stated that they can only wait till Fayose returns on the next adjourned date for the continuation of his trial over an alleged N2.2 billion fraud.
”We are not going to react to that video (on) the grounds that the EFCC is prosecuting him, not persecuting him.
”Besides, the court granted him permission to travel abroad for medical attention. We are of the opinion that the former governor would have to be in court and that his trial is on course. And we will definitely meet him on the next adjourned date.”
A non-governmental organisation, Savers Empowerment Ambassadors Initiatives Nigeria (SEAIN) has called on President Muhammed Buhari to urgently facilitate the confirmation of Ibrahim Magu as the substantive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) based on the remarkable achievements the Commission recorded so far under his watch.
Speaking during its end-of-year parley in Lagos, SEAIN Chairman Frank Ramsey Ezike noted that the delay in confirming Ibrahim Magu as EFCC Chairman was uncalled for and smacks of dirty political undertones which, according to him, is against President Buhari’s avowed commitment towards eradicating corruption in Nigeria.
Ezike, who was also a member of APC presidential campaign council during 2019 election, said that politicians in the country who have tainted their hands were working strenuously against the confirmation of Magu, stating that President Buhari should ignore their machinations and do the needful by re-submitting Magu’s name to the National Assembly for immediate confirmation.
According to him, Magu’s achievements so far are clear testimonies to the good intentions of President Buhari’s commitment to fighting corruption to a standstill in the country, and that efforts geared towards stultifying his achieving that goal will not augur well for the country.
“We are happy that the present National Assembly is committed and working hand in hand with our President towards redeeming this country from the hands of corrupt people. That’s why we are appealing to the President to use his good offices and facilitate the immediate confirmation of Ibrahim Magu as EFCC chairman,” he said.
“We at SEAIN are aware of the quantum and glaring achievements recorded by EFCC so far under Magu, and we will not relent in calling for the fulfillment of this request based on our conviction that he stands tall in assisting our president in delivering the goods to our countrymen and women.
“Details of convictions and trials recorded so far are eloquent testimonies to the good work Magu has achieved, and he deserves a part on the back and an endorsement will make him achieve more,” Ezike stated.
He called on Nigerians of good conscience to join in appealing for Magu’s immediate confirmation so that more corrupt Nigerians will be found and forced to cough up their ill-gotten gain.
The Nigerian information space exploded on Thursday December 4, 2019, when news broke that the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has convicted a former governor of Abia State and Senator representing Abia North in the Senate, Senator Orji Kalu, of N7.1bn fraud and sentenced him to 12 years imprisonment.
Senator Kalu was convicted alongside his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited and his
Director of Finance and Account at the Abia State Government House, Mr. Jones Udeogu who served under him when he was Abia state governor.
While Udeogu was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, the judge ordered the winding up of Slok Nigeria Limited, holding that its assets and properties be forfeited to government.
The judgment, delivered by Justice Mohammed Idris, shocked and stunned the whole nation, not only because the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC had been on this case for 12 years after it first filed the fraud charges against Kalu in 2007, but also for the fact that the former Abia state governor had been widely regarded as a sacred cow and one of the most trusted ally and confidant of President Buhari; a claim he seemingly invoked and exploited to maximum effect when INEC was compelled by the courts to issue him with a certificate of return as Abia North Senator and most recently when the Supreme Court validated his victory and dismissed all the petitions challenging his election victory.
Not many people believed that a court of law in Nigeria would be bold enough to convict a man whose relationship with President Mohammadu Buhari, was such that he even took a well celebrated chieftaincy title from Katsina, the President’s state and his ride to the Senate became so smooth once he joined APC, the ruling Party, thus lending more credence to the narrative that your sins will be forgiven once you joined APC.
In any case, with this dramatic conviction of Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, it appears that many people have grossly underestimated the unflinching tenacity and crusade like commitment of the EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu to the anti corruption war. This conviction, coming at this very auspicious time in the evolution of the anti corruption war, has more than consolidated the argument that Ibrahim Magu ought to be confirmed and retained as the substantive head of the EFCC.
It also sends a reassuring signal to the international community that Nigeria is quite serious about tackling corruption frontally, with a dedicated and courageous man in charge, but most importantly it delivers a clear and direct warning to all those under EFCC investigation for various fraud related allegations, but enjoying some form of official authority and responsibility, that the EFCC under Magu, is not going to dilly dally over fraud and corruption cases anymore and sooner than later, a proper and complete closure will be brought to many of the very outstanding and astounding cases.
Indeed, one of the most satisfying aspects of the judgement and conviction of Senator Orji Kalu was the commendation given to the EFCC by the Judge. In pronouncing the convicts guilty, Justice Idris had only glowing praise for the EFCC, stating unequivocally that the Commission proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.
Out of the 39 counts filed against the trio, the judge convicted Kalu of the entire 28 counts in which his name featured. On each of counts 1-11 and 39, he was sentenced to five years imprisonment; on each of counts 23-33, he was sentenced to three years imprisonment; and on each of counts 34-38, he was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment.
The judge, who hailed the investigation that culminated into the charge as in-depth and conclusive, said: “No gaps were left unfilled. This is the acceptable standard. I hold the view that the prosecution has established its case against the defendants; it did not fall short of the standard required by law in money laundering offences. It is clear upon the facts before this court that the prosecution had this case conclusively investigated before opting to bring this charge against the defendants. In other words, the prosecution did an in-depth and conclusive investigation.”
The import of this very succinct observation by the learned Justice Idris is a clear affirmation of the giant strides the EFCC under Ibrahim Magu has accomplished. Gone are the days when the Commission was often embarrassed by sitting judges and had to hurriedly withdraw promising cases from court as a result of shoddy and haphazardly construed investigations in their eagerness to secure glory seeking convictions. Under Magu’s unerring watch, the EFCC has transformed into a meticulous, clinical, dogged and tenacious investigative machine, with the ultimate objective of ensuring that any charge that is eventually tabled before the courts would have been throughly investigated and prepared with the utmost care and intention to secure a conviction at the end of trial.
It is also worth stating here that the conviction of Senator Orji Uzor Kalu is quite significant as it falls in line with the EFCC’s determination to bring as many
Politically Exposed Persons, PEPs to book; a drive which had already convicted Jolly Nyame, a former governor of Taraba State and Joshua Dariye, a serving Senator and a former governor of Plateau state both of whom are currently serving jail terms at Kuje Prison.
Dariye and Nyame, who were sentenced to 14 years in prison had approached the Court of Appeal to challenge the ‘guilty’ verdict handed down on them by a Federal Capital Territory High Court, Gudu presided over by Justice Adebukola Banjoko. However, while upholding their convictions, the Appellate Court commuted Dariye’s jail term to 10 years and that of Nyame to 12 years with a fine of N495 million.
It is highly anticipated that Senator Orji Uzor Kalu may also approach the court if Appeal to try and overturn his own conviction too. Indeed, a legal practitioner ostensibly speaking on behalf of the Abia North Senator has already boasted that the judgement will be appealed from the Appeal Court up to the Supreme Court, even insisting that there was no cause for alarm.
However, without prejudice to whatever transpires henceforth legally, the point remains that with this conviction of Senator Orji Kalu, the EFCC, led by Ibrahim Magu as the acting Chairman, has proven once more that the Commission remains consistent in its concerted efforts towards ensuring that the negative narrative of pervasive corruption in the Nigerian system is changed for the better, and the perception that some persons are sacred cows who are above the Law, is altered.
There is no doubt that in the last four years, the political will of President Muhammadu Buhari has emboldened and energized the EFCC to embark on enforcement and preventive measures against corruption with a view to tame the monster and with the preventive, enforcement and prosecution mandate given to the Commission, all that is needed is the combination of courage, integrity, and determination which has been proved beyond reasonably doubt are all embodied in Magu and which will be intensified with the confirmation of a substantive authority to drive the anti corruption war to new, successful heights.
Indeed, like Ibrahim Magu himself said, the battle to make the country a place where foreign in
Anti-graft group, Nigerians Against Corruption, NAC, has described the conviction of former governor of Abia state, Orji UzorKalu, by Justice Muhammed Idris of a Federal High Court in Lagos as a mark that shows EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu means business with the President Buhari’s anti-corrution war.
Orji Kalu, who is the Senate Chief Whip, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for stealing public funds while in office. Justice Idris further held that Mr Kalu’s company, Slok Nigeria Limited, the third defendant, be wounded up and all assets forfeited to the federal government.
Commenting on the judgment, the group’s National coordinator said with this feat, Magu deserves the support of all well meaning Nigerians while calling on the President to as a matter of exigency renominate him for a fresh 4-year term as the EFCC chairman.
“The conviction of a whole Senate Chief Whip has shown that Mr Ibrahim Magu is serious about eradicating financial corruption in our polity. If a former governor and a member of the President’s party can bag a 12 year jail term, I tell you this man means business”.
“Don’t forget that Orji Kalu holds a chieftaincy title from President Buhari’s hometown of Daura. His various media outfits also gave the president awards yet, Ibrahim Magu has sent him to jailed.
“I seriously call on President Buhari to return Magu as EFCC boss and also empower the agency to do much more. I also want to urge Nigerians to cooperate with this government to get rid of corruption in Nigeria.
The anti-graft crusader also added that Nigerians should expect the conviction of more high profile Nigerians.
The Abuja division of the Federal High Court, on Wednesday, dismissed a suit seeking to declare the continued stay of Mr Ibrahim Magu as the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, as illegal and unconstitutional.
Although the court held that by the provisions of section 2(3) of the EFCC Act, it was a mandatory requirement of the law that Magu’s appointment must be confirmed by the Senate to be validated, there was a lacuna in the law as there was no limitation to the powers of the president to re-appoint him.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu held that the EFCC is not an extra-Ministerial department of the Federal Government, and as such, the law provided that anyone nominated as its Chairman by the President must pass through necessary “checks and balances” by the Senate.
The court held that whereas section 171 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, granted the President powers to appoint heads of extra-Ministerial departments at his pleasure, section 2(3) of the EFCC Act, 2004, made it mandatory that any nomination to EFCC Chairmanship position must be screened by the Senate to satisfy the interest of the public.
“Public interest is very paramount in the appointment of any person to head to the EFCC”, Justice Ojukwu held, saying there was a lacuna in the law since section 2(3) of the EFCC Act did not put a limitation to President Muhammadu Buhari’s powers to re-appoint Magu, subject to confirmation by the Senate.
“The lacuna has given the the President the proverbial knife and the yam”, Justice Ojukwu noted, saying there was need for a renewed consciousness that laws must be implemented in accordance with public interest.”
Forces against acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, have intensified efforts to ease him out before the end of the year.
Sponsors and leaders of the plot have allegedly recruited some civil society organisations (CSOs) to begin series of protests against his continued stay in office on the premise that his four-year tenure ended on November 9.
Meetings to that effect have reportedly held in choice hotels in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and Lagos. To kickstart the game plan, the selected CSO’s are expected to address series of press conferences where certain allegations against EFCC, under Magu, would be unveiled. Also to come are sponsored rallies against the Commission in Abuja and Lagos with the intent to attack Magu’s integrity.
Already, they have sponsored petitions before the House of Representatives, with certain allegations against the EFCC.
A source privy to the plot also added that “they are also claiming that Magu has served the statutory four years as EFCC boss (as stipulated in the EFCC Act), and that President Muhammadu Buhari ought to have forwarded a replacement to the Senate for confirmation. They are also relying on Sections 2 (3) and 3 (1) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004, to buttress their arguments.”
Section 2 (3) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act (2004)states that: “The chairman and members of the Commission, other than ex-officio members shall be appointed by the president and appointment shall be subject to the confirmation of the Senate while section 3 (1) states that “the chairman and members of the Commission, other than ex-officio members shall hold office for a period of four years and may be re-appointed for a further term of four years and no more.”
Regardless, a sponsor of the project has been identified as a high profile defendant in a money laundering and corruption matter in the oil and gas sector.
“The well-heeled player in the oil sector, who has close relationship with a former oil minister, has mobilised huge funds to fund this campaign of character assassination and misinformation against Magu,” said another source.
Another set of opposition against his continued stay in office “have even gone ahead to recommend a serving Commissioner of Police, also from the North, as his replacement.”
The Presidential Villa, has, however, remained silent about Magu’s tenure. Till date, the president has not made public, his views on Magu’s status. Besides, the president is keeping his decision on Magu to his chest as none of those close to him in Aso Rock can actually speak authoritatively on the matter.
In March 2017, Senate rejected Magu’s nomination after the Department of State Security (DSS) reaffirmed its position that he lacked the integrity to lead the anti-corruption agency.
“In the light of the foregoing, Magu has failed the integrity test and will eventually constitute a liability to the anti-corruption stand of the current government,” the DSS report indicated then.
At the confirmatory screening, which held in the Committee of the Whole of the eighth Senate, Magu questioned the credibility of the DSS which he said dispatched two reports on him with varying contents on the same day.
“What do you say about credibility of that agency?” he queried.
In December 2016, DSS had submitted two contradictory reports to the Senate – one approving Magu’s confirmation and the other asking that he be rejected. Senate opted to reject Magu’s confirmation based on a report critical of him.