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Fourteen major allegations have been levelled against the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu.
Already, President Muhammadu Buhari has suspended the embattled EFCC boss from office.
First News learnt that Magu was suspended to ensure unhindered probe of the various allegations against him.
Buhari had earlier set up a presidential panel headed by Justice Ayo Salami to probe the allegations levelled against the EFCC boss.
The panel grilled Magu for hours on Monday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja before he was taken into police custody. He was detained overnight in police cell in Abuja.
The EFCC boss’ interrogation by the Justice Ayo Salami-led seven-man Presidential Panel continued on Tuesday.
The development comes after he was arrested and detained by security operatives in Abuja.
A source privy to the investigation confirmed Magu’s suspension.
Magu’s travails began after the Attorney-General of the federation and Minister of justice, Abubakar Malami, sent a memo to the President in which he accused the EFCC boss of malfeasance.
Magu was alleged to have mishandled the recovered loot and was selling seized assets to associates.
He was also alleged to have refused to subject himself to the supervision of the office of the attorney-general
The Presidency has yet to issue a formal statement on the issue as of the time of filing this report.
The presidential panel on Tuesday, however, resumed sitting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, where Magu is answering questions on seven major allegations levelled against him.
The AGF had earlier asked President Buhari to sack Magu over some “weighty” allegations.
Listed among these “weighty” allegations are the followings:
- Discrepancies in the reconciliation records of the EFCC on recovered funds
- Leaking investigative reports to the media before going to court
- Sale of seized assets to cronies, associates and friends
- Shortfall of N35billion in his declaration of recovered funds
- Insubordination to the AGF and minister of justice who oversees EFCC’s supervising ministry
- Not providing enough evidence for the extradition of former petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke
- Ignoring court order to unfreeze N7billion despite judgment in favour of a suspect
Magu’s sins are, however, beyond the above seven.
Recall that the DSS had allegedly submitted a damning report on the EFCC boss to the immediate past National Assembly, which resulted in the lawmakers declining to approve his confirmation as the substantive chairman of the anti-graft agency.
Some of the “weighty” allegations against Magu contained in the DSS report, which incidentally are also seven in number, are as follows:
1. Magu allegedly occupying an apartment rented for N40million at N20million per annum and paid for by a questionable businessman.
2. He allegedly furnished the apartment at the cost of N43million and the contract was awarded to a company owned by the same questionable businessman.
3. Magu constantly embarked on official and private trips in company with corrupt folks currently under investigation.
4. The EFCC boss flies first class or most times private jets owned by the questionable businessman
5. On June 24, 2016, Magu flew Emirate airlines’ first-class to Saudi Arabia to perform lesser hajj at the cost of N2.9milion, in spite of President Buhari’s directive to all public servants to fly only economy class.
6. He allegedly transfers funds abroad through a third party.
7. Magu is allegedly found guilty of actions prejudicial to state security, withholding of EFCC files, sabotage and unauthorised removal of EFCC files.
On Tuesday, a Presidency source reiterated that the allegations against Magu could not be ignored because they were weighty.
The source, who pleaded anonymity because he has not been authorised to speak on the probe, told some State House reporters in Abuja that anyone occupying Magu’s position should not be suspected of being involved in any fraudulent activity.
The AGF had accused Magu of gross infractions.
The AGF had asked President Muhammadu Buhari to sack Magu over some “weighty” allegations, including the diversion of recovered loot.
In addition to allegedly re-looting the recovered loot, Malami accused the acting EFCC chairman of insubordination and misconduct.
The source, howver, said the EFCC boss’ investigation reinforced Buhari’s commitment to transparency and accountability.
He said it underscored the fact that nobody in the Buhari administration was above scrutiny.
The source added, “The panel investigating allegations against acting EFCC Chairman had been sitting for some weeks now.
“In consonance with the principle of fairness and justice, it was needful that the acting Chairman be given opportunity to respond to the allegations, which are weighty in nature.
“Under the Muhammadu Buhari administration, nobody is above scrutiny. Repeat: nobody. The investigation is to reinforce transparency and accountability, rather than to vitiate it.
“Accountability for our actions or inactions is inalienable part of democracy. In such elevated position as that of EFCC Chairman, the holder of the position must be above suspicion.
“There’s no prejudgment – absolutely none. The Buhari administration can be counted on to uphold fairness and justice at all times.”