Allegations Of Corruption: Police Comb Magu’s House After Suspension, Returned To Custody
Some policemen attached to the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department on Tuesday searched the home of the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu.
Also on Tuesday, the Justice Ayo Salami Presidential Panel, which interrogated Magu on Monday over allegations of corruption, again quizzed the suspended EFCC boss.
The suspended EFCC boss, who was detained by the police after Monday’s interrogation, was returned to the police custody at 8:30pm on Tuesday.
But earlier at 6:00 pm, policemen searched Magu’s house located on Abduljalil Street, Karu Site, on the outskirts of Abuja and made away with vital documents.
The policemen, who carried out the search, were said to be the same ones who arrested Magu on Monday.
A police officer, who confided in Flavision, said,
On Tuesday evening, a team of policemen stormed the home of Magu in Karu. That is the house where Magu used to live before he moved to Maitama after his appointment as EFCC chairman.
The policemen made away with some items and everything will be processed as investigations continue.
Magu spends second night in police custody
It was learnt that at 830p.m. Magu was driven from the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa venue of the panel’s sitting back to the Force Criminal Investigation Bureau where he passed the night on Monday.
Yes. Magu has returned to police custody. He left the venue of the panel’s sitting at 8.30pm and was driven back to the same police facility where he was detained on Monday,
a source told one of our correspondents on Tuesday evening.
Buhari suspends Magu
Flavision gathered that before the presidential panel resumed its sitting on Tuesday, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had suspended Magu.
It was gathered that Magu was suspended to allow the Salami panel do its job without interference from the EFCC boss.
Magu was accosted by security agents in front of the old EFCC headquarters on Fomella Street, Wuse 2, Abuja, at noon on Monday, and taken to the Presidential Villa, where he was quizzed by the panel for six hours over 24 allegations.
Most of the allegations against Magu emanated from a report by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), and a report of the Department of State Services, which was submitted to the Senate in 2016 and 2017.
Among others, the suspended EFCC boss was accused of living above his means, fraternising with corrupt persons and diverting recovered funds.
When the panel resumed sitting at noon on Tuesday at the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja like what happened on Monday, security operatives stopped State House reporters from gaining access into the venue.
Confirming Magu’s suspension, a source said,
It is commonsensical that when an investigation of this nature is ongoing, you don’t allow the person being investigated to keep the keys of the office for which he is being investigated.
This is because if he keeps the keys, there can be a kind of tampering with documents or evidence. It is not logical and it is even undemocratic to allow such to happen.
The Presidency has yet to issue a formal statement on the issue as of the time of filing this report.
Meanwhile, there are strong indications that the Director of Operations at the anti-graft commission, Abba Mohammed, may take over the affairs of the agency pending the appointment of Magu’s replacement.
A source said,
Deputy Commissioner of Police Mohammed, who is the director of operations, is expected to take over the running of the EFCC in acting capacity pending the appointment of a replacement for Magu.
Meanwhile, pressure groups have been reportedly positioning various candidates for the EFCC top job.
Flavision learnt that some people had been pushing for the appointment of a former commissioner of police who arrested some politicians during the 2019 elections in the North-West.
Allegations against Magu too weighty to be ignored – Govt official
Meanwhile, a top government official on Tuesday said the various allegations levelled against Magu were too weighty to be ignored.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not directed to address the press, said under the regime of Buhari nobody was above scrutiny.
He said whoever occupied an elevated position such as that of the EFCC chairman must be above suspicion.
The government official said,
The panel investigating allegations against the acting EFCC chairman had been sitting for some weeks now.
Under the Muhammadu Buhari administration, nobody is above scrutiny. I repeat: nobody. The investigation is to reinforce transparency and accountability, rather than to vitiate them.
Probing Magu is in order, he is not above the law – NBA
The Nigerian Bar Association, on Tuesday, supported the probe of Magu over the graft allegations.
The National Publicity Secretary of the association, Mr. Kunle Edun, who said this while responding to The PUNCH’s request for the NBA’s position on Magu’s probe, warned that Magu’s rights must not be violated.
An integral component of the rule of law is that no one is above the law. The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the cleaner on the street are equal before the law.
It is only in a situation where there is an obvious lack of democracy and constitutionalism that we see deviations from these established democratic ethos. We have seen a lot of such deviations in Nigeria. This is why it is surprising to some Nigerians that the arrest of the EFCC chairman is a big deal. No, it should not be, because he is also subject to the law. Everyone occupying public office should be ready to give account whenever called upon provided it is not a witch-hunt.
The only admonition that the NBA will give is that Ibrahim Magu must be accorded all his fundamental rights as a Nigerian and presumed innocent until otherwise found guilty of whatever allegations made against him by a competent court. He must not be detained beyond the limit set by the constitution.
As the NBA President, Paul Usoro, has said in several fora, if you take care of the rule of law, the rule of law will take care of you one day.
SERAP urges fairness in Magu’s probe
Also, the Anti-corruption advocacy group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, called for fairness in the probe of corruption allegations against Magu.
In a statement titled “Nigeria: Authorities must treat Magu fairly,” issued on Tuesday by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oludare, SERAP said it was concerned by reports that Magu’s probe might be a fallout of the power play at the highest level of government.
On its part, the Coalition of Public Interest Lawyers and Advocates, said Magu should he fired as he had failed an objectivity test.
The National Coordinator of COPA, Pelumi Olajengbesi, said this in a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday titled,
Mr Ibrahim Magu, acting EFCC Chairman is now a liability to the image of Nigeria and this government’s anti-corruption war.
Odekunle’s statement on Magu, personal opinion, not PACAC’s – Sagay
Meanwhile, the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), on Tuesday distanced himself from a statement defending Magu.
Sagay, who is known to be an ardent supporter of Magu, said this while reacting to a statement by a member of his committee, Prof. Femi Odekunle.
In a statement, titled,
Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption has not released an official statement with regard to the acting Chairman of EFCC Mr. Ibrahim Magu,’ issued by PACAC Communications Officer, Aghogho Agbahor, Sagay said Odekunle spoke for himself.
The attention of the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption has been drawn to a statement circulating in the media space credited to one of its members Prof Femi Odekunle.
The press release is the personal opinion of the member under whose name it was released and not that of the committee. If the committee consistent with its mandate has any view on the matter, it will be channelled to the President and not to the media.