Presidential Panel Grills EFCC Boss Magu for Six Hours Over 24 Allegations

 

• Magu accused of living above his means, fraternising with corrupt persons, diversion of loot

A presidential panel set up by President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday grilled the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC Ibrahim Magu, for six hours at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The panel, which was inaugurated about a week ago, interrogated Magu at the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, after he was whisked to the venue by armed operatives of the Department of State Services.

The panel, led by a former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami (retd.), had about seven other members including the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Mike Ogbizi.

The panel also had representatives from the Office of the National Security Adviser, the DSS and other related agencies.

It was learnt that Magu was accosted by security agents in plain clothes in front of the old EFCC headquarters on Fomella Street, Wuse 2, Abuja, around 12noon on Monday.

Magu, who was in his own convoy, was shown a letter of invitation from the presidential panel requesting his presence.

The EFCC boss was said to have explained to the security agents that he would honour the invitation on a future date but they refused to accept Magu’s explanation and insisted that he followed them to the Presidential Villa.

He was subsequently whisked away and brought before the panel where he responded to several questions directed at him.

A top EFCC source said, “Attempts to bring Magu before the panel in the past had proved abortive. So, on Monday, a team of security agents in plain clothes accosted him around the old EFCC office in Wuse 2.

“Magu’s men quickly put up a resistance but the security officials on the other side quickly corked their guns and insisted that they were following presidential orders. They immediately took Magu into custody and brought him before the panel.”

It was learnt that 24 allegations were levelled against Magu who has been acting as chairman for almost five years.

Most of the allegations, it was learnt, emanated from a report by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), and a DSS report which was submitted to the Senate in 2016 and 2017.

The EFCC boss was accused of living above his means, fraternising with corrupt persons, diversion of recovered funds and many others.

He was also accused of insubordination.

Magu, it was learnt, was allowed to leave after about six hours and may be asked to return to make further clarifications.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that the acting EFCC boss might be asked to step down pending the outcome of investigation.

A top source said, “The usual procedure is that when one is facing an investigation of this nature, he would be advised to step down.

“This is because the EFCC is the face of this government’s anti-corruption crusade and keeping Magu there amid this investigation could present a moral challenge.

“I understand that he has been advised to hand over to the next most senior director but he is being adamant.”

Sources confirmed that the investigation into the missing funds followed a formal complaint by Malami against Magu.

Malami had reportedly complained to Buhari about Magu’s conduct and advised that he should be relieved of his appointment.

He was also said to have accused Magu of insubordination and discrepancies in the figures of funds recovered by the EFCC, disposing of assets, especially buildings seized from corrupt politicians and others, without approval, or knowledge of the AGF’s office, which is the supervisory ministry of the EFCC.

The AGF listed various offences allegedly committed by Magu, for which he should be sacked.

It was gathered that the Governor of Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele and the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, would also make submissions before the panel on the funds and real estates recovered by the EFCC in order to reconcile them with the records being held by their respective offices.

A source stated, “The President set up a panel to interrogate Magu on the missing funds and discrepancies in the records of recovered funds from politically-exposed persons.

“The justice minister had earlier directed the police to investigate the allegations against Magu, but the government discovered that the police were hiding some information and were not thorough in their investigations. So, they directed the DSS to be part of the investigating team.

“Malami said some of the funds recovered by the EFCC were not in the CBN accounts and he has all the records. The panel is expected to invite the CBN Governor and the Minister of Finance to shed further light on the issue.”

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