, fall declaration of N539bn instead of N504bn
*EFCC boss may be detained for 2 months
*Nobody is above the law and scrutiny – FG
*Insists everybody must account for his/her actions
At last, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday Okayed the suspension of the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu.
Buhari had earlier set up a Presidential Panel headed by Justice Ayo Salami to probe the various allegations of corruption leveled against the EFCC boss.
The panel grilled Magu for hours on Monday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja before he was taken into police custody.
A source on the panel investigating embattled Commissioner of Police, Ibrahim Magu yesterday confirmed to Nigerian Pilot that the president had approved his suspension from office as the acting EFCC boss.
“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 source stated.
However, the presidency is yet to issue a formal statement on the issue as at the time of filing this report.
Meanwhile, indications emerged yesterday that the operatives of the Nigerian Police Force may be approaching a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja for an order to keep and detain Magu for two months.
The court order will be subject to a renewal pending when investigations are concluded in the matter.
Nigerian Pilot gathered that the ongoing investigative probe of the embattled acting chairman of the EFCC, Magu, is meant to give him the opportunity to respond to allegations leveled against him.
There were indications yesterday that Magu’s suspension might have been recommended by the panel investigating him, although no official source was available to confirm this to Nigerian Pilot as at the time of filing this report.
But a highly placed presidential source, who explained the reason for Magu’s investigation, also said the Justice Ayo Salami-led investigative panel became necessary because of the anti-corruption bent.
The source also noted the ongoing investigation of Magu had come out to prove that no public servant, no matter how highly placed, is above scrutiny, especially when there are allegations as weighty as those leveled against the embattled anti-corruption czar.
According to the source, “The panel investigating allegations against acting EFCC chairman had been sitting for some weeks now.
“In consonance with the principles 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,” the source said.
It would be recalled that Magu was on Monday grilled for several hours by a special Presidential Investigation Panel in one of the rooms inside the State House Conference Centre over allegations of various improprieties.
He was reportedly detained over the night at the Force Criminal Investigation Department, FCID, from about 10:30pm on Monday.
The Justice Salami-led investigative panel on allegations of corruption against the Acting chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu continued sitting yesterday.
He is facing allegations of corruption leveled against him by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).
The panel had been sitting for about two weeks but embattled Magu was summoned before it on Monday.
Some of the 22 allegations are as follows:
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 N504billionn earlier claimed and 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 sales of seized assets to cronies, associates and friends among others.
He should be treated fairly – SERAP
Meanwhile, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP yesterday asked the federal government to charge embattled acting EFCC boss “with a recognisable criminal offence” or release him “immediately”.
This was contained in a statement yesterday titled ‘Nigeria: Authorities must treat Magu fairly–SERAP.’
According to the statement signed by its deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP urged the authorities to afford Magu his constitutionally and internationally guaranteed fair trial rights.
“Magu must either be charged with a recognisable criminal offence or released immediately and allowed to do his job without fear of reprisals.
“Nigerian authorities cannot continue to keep Magu in detention under suspicious circumstances without bringing any legitimate charges against him in violation of national and international law.
“Nigerian authorities must support the independence and freedom of action of anti-corruption agencies and institutions if they are to be able to genuinely fight grand corruption, which has for many years turned public service for many into a kind of criminal enterprise,” the statement said.