Panel Expands Magu Probe

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Ibrahim Magu

The suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu’s problems worsened on Wednesday as the presidential panel investigating corruption allegations against him expanded the scope of the probe by inviting top officials of the EFCC and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to respond to questions as may be relevant to the departments they supervise.

Magu was accosted by security agents in plain clothes in front of the old EFCC headquarters on Fomella Street, Wuse 2, Abuja, at noon on Monday and compelled to appear before the panel.

He has been in police custody at the Force Criminal Investigation Department, Garki, since Monday from where he has been appearing before the panel to respond to questions on the allegations raised against him by the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).

Some of the fresh allegations against Magu are:

Alleged discrepancies in the reconciliation records of the EFCC and the Federal Ministry of Finance on recovered funds

Declaration of N539billion as recovered funds instead of N504b earlier claimed

Insubordination to the Office of the AGF by not seeking his approval on some decisions

Not providing enough evidence for the extradition of ex-Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke

Alleged late action on the investigation of Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) leading to legal dispute

Not respecting court order to unfreeze a N7billion judgment in favour of a former executive director of First Bank

Alleged delay in acting on two vessels seized by Nigerian Navy leading to the loss of crude

Alleged favouring of some investigators called Magu’s Boys

Reporting some judges to their presiding officers without deferring to the AGF

Alleged sales of seized assets to cronies, associates and friends

Alleged issuance of investigative activities to some media prejudicial to some cases.

Those invited by the Justice Ayo Salami-led Presidential Investigation Committee which has been conducting its sittings at the Presidential Villa Banquet Hall, are EFCC Secretary Ola Oluyede and Director of Operations, Mr. Mohammed Umar. The others are: Director of Finance and Administration, the Director of Internal Affairs, some Zonal/Sectional heads, heads of departments/units and the NFIU.

Magu, it was learnt had promised to make available documents and files as may be requested. He is also believed to have told the panel that he never disobeyed the minister of Justice.

He also said he never threatened judges, especially Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako, who the AGF referred to in his memo to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Findings indicated that Magu was accorded courtesies by the panel which stated that it had no pre-determined agenda.

Justice Salami was quoted by sources as reaffirming that his panel was on fact-finding and will be open-minded.

He also said they had no bias but to ensure that justice is served to all.

According to reports, being a large commission. It was the embattled EFCC chair that reiterated that he would want the panel to invite all relevant heads of departments, heads of investigating unit, zonal heads and the NFIU to respond to specific allegations concerning their departments or units.

He said he opted to do so to demonstrate that he adopted a teamwork approach without personal gains.

Magu’s request was granted by the committee, leading to invitation being extended to them.

Part of Magu’s response to the allegations is that he reportedly told the committee that he never disobeyed the AGF. He promised to make documents available to support his claim.

After being questioned for eight hours on Wednesday, Magu was taken back in police custody, where he spent Monday and Tuesday nights.

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