A prior presidential panel, which investigated the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, indicted him, a report published by the News Agency of Nigeria has alleged.
The report, according to NAN, noted that the embattled EFCC boss had been unable to account for the interest generated from N550bn cash recovered from 2015 to 2020.
The panel is separate from the panel led by a former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, which is currently probing Magu and other top officials of the agency.
The chairman of the previous committee was Alhaji Abdullahi Ibrahim and the members were DIG Anthony Ogbizi; a member from Federal Ministry of Justice; Mualledi Dogondaji from the EFCC; Hassan Abdullahi from the DSS; an unnamed member from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation; Chinedu Ifediora from the NFIU, while Mr Kazeem Attitebi served as the secretary.
The committee’s report, it was learnt, became the basis for the setting up of the Salami-led panel.
The report titled, ‘Final Report of the Presidential Investigation Committee on the EFCC Federal Government Recovered Assets and Finances from May 2015 to May 2020’ was obtained by the Federal Government-owned News Agency of Nigeria.
The report read in part, “Failure to report on the interest on actual lodgements clearly establishes that the interest element of over N550bn has been re-looted relating to the period under review.
“This is an apparent case of manipulation of data in a very brazen and unprofessional manner and this has greatly eroded the public confidence in the anti-corruption efforts.”
The panel said it was quite disturbing that conflicting figures were being circulated in the public space by the EFCC as the amount of recovered funds.
It said these inconsistencies cast serious doubt on the accuracy of figures submitted by the EFCC.
The committee said it was of the view that the EFCC could not be said to have fully accounted for cash recoveries made by it, noting that there were discrepancies between what the embattled chairman reported and the lodgements the commission made.
It added, “It must be pointed out that the discrepancy of more than N31bn does not include interest accrued in this account since it was opened.
“It therefore cast serious doubt on the credibility of the figures and means that substantial amount of money has not been accurately accounted for.”
NAN observed that the report had also confirmed the concerns of the public about contradictory recovery figures emanating from Magu.
The Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets revealed how the investigative reports on EFCC’s activities by the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit exposed acts of corruption and money laundering against some EFCC officials, including Magu.
The report added, “The NFIU reports established that the acting chairman has been using different sources to siphon money from the EFCC.
“The report has shown that a particular Bureau de Change, owned by Ahmed Shanono linked to the acting chairman based in Kaduna, has more than 158 accounts and has been receiving huge sums of funds.”
The committee accused Magu of paying a prominent Lagos-based senior advocate N28m.
…alleges he acquired N573m Dubai property through pastor
The panel accused the suspended EFCC boss of using one Pastor Omale to launder funds abroad.
Omale’s name was uncovered through an investigative report on EFCC’s activities by the NFIU.
According to the report, the unknown clergyman is alleged to have bought a property on behalf of Magu worth N573m in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
“As an unknown pastor, the NFIU’s report showed the huge movement of funds ranging from N573,228,040.41,” the report said.
NAN also gathered that efforts had been intensified to expose the real identity of the pastor with a view to arraigning him for prosecution, if found culpable.
Meanwhile, efforts to reach the said pastor to get his reaction were not successful. Several calls made to his mobile phone were not answered while the text message sent to him had yet to be replied as of 12:52am.
The committee accused the suspended EFCC boss of mishandling the probe of a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
The suspended EFCC boss was accused of failing to cooperate with authorities in the United Kingdom to facilitate effective prosecution of the case.
The report read in part, “In the Diezani Alison-Madueke case, the acting chairman is failing to further cooperate with the UK NCA (National Crime Agency) to enable them to charge the former minister to court in the UK.
“The acting chairman, despite his knowledge that Mrs Alison-Madueke will not be extradited to Nigeria until after her trial in the UK, has consistently been accusing the UK government on the pages of print and electronic media of not wanting to extradite her to Nigeria.”
Magu was also accused of deliberately refusing to provide documentary evidence that would make the office of the Attorney-General to commence the extradition process of Diezani Madueke.
“This has strained the EFCC’s relationship with Europe, our most strategic partner,’’ the report further observed.
NAN reported that Magu, who is being held at the Police headquarters, Abuja, is expected to reappear before the Salami probe panel on Monday to defend himself against several allegations.
No sacred cows in Buhari’s govt, EFCC bigger than Magu – Presidency
The Presidency on Saturday said those who held the belief that the ongoing investigation of the suspended the EFCC acting chairman was an indication of the regime’s failing anti-corruption fight had missed the point.
It said rather, the development was further proof that the fight was real and active.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement, titled ‘Presidency’s statement on the suspension of Mr Ibrahim Magu’, said this was the first time the Presidency would react officially since Magu’s travails started on Monday when he was arrested and brought before the Justice Ayo Salami-led presidential panel.
The statement added, “There is no better indication that the fight is real and active than the will to investigate allegations in an open and transparent manner against those who have been charged to be custodians of this very system.