As corruption allegations mount on Magu, Malami nominates 5 as replacement

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Mr Abubakar Malami
Mr Abubakar Malami

Five names are believed to have been forwarded by the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, to President Muhammadu Buhari to pick as a replacement for Ibrahim Magu, the boss of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), who has been on the post in acting capacity since November 9, 2015, following the 8th Senate’s rejection of his nomination twice.

Among them is a retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Sani Usman, CT Police Commissioner, Bala Ciroma and a retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police, AIG, from Kebbi State.

Others are retired DIG Usman and Ms. Diseye Nsirim-Poweigba, a retired police commissioner in Niger State as replacement for Magu.

READ ALSO: Malami writes Buhari, seeks removal of Magu, shortlists 3 replacements

CP Ciroma, who had previously served as the EFCC’s Head of Operations, is believed to be the front runner based on his experience as a one time Head of Operations in the organisation. An accomplished detective, his colleagues have high regards for him because of his incorruptible character.

Malami last week wrote the President recommending Ibrahim Magu’s immediate sack as head of the anti-graft agency over alleged multiple serious offences bordering on diversion of recovered assets, insubordination and misconduct.

Only recently, facts have emerged on how Magu uses his office to cover up and protect some corrupt and criminal elements within the organization.

Magu, who has been unsuccessful in getting the National Assembly to confirm his appointment since he was thrown forward by President Muhammadu Buhari, was discovered to have used his office to turn cases against complainants simply because some of his “boys” were found culpable of criminal acts in matters.

For example, on November 8, 2018, one Mr Olalekan Abdul honoured an invitation to EFCC office in Ikoyi, Lagos, and was accompanied by Mr Azubuike Ishiekwene, a veteran journalist.

Ishiekwene had accompanied Abdul to the office of the anti-graft agency to stand as surety for him in case he needed one at the end of his interrogation that day.

The EFCC wanted explanations on their role in an alleged case of forgery with the intent to defraud Wema Bank of the sum of N350m.

But against their expectations, the two men were detained and only released late that night on a bail bond of N20billion each.

Upon their release, they instructed their lawyer to contact the EFCC leadership in Abuja and notify them of attempts by the officers in Lagos to extort money from them.

As first instalment, the EFCC investigators in Lagos asked Abdul and Ishiekwene to pay $20,000 on November 9, the next day after their arrest.

After their lawyer contacted Mr Ola Olukoyede, currently Secretary to the Commission, on the matter, he asked the two men to play along with the EFCC officials demanding bribe in Lagos with a view to apprehending them.

A sting team consisting of Mr Orji Chukwuma and Mr Rotimi Oyedepo was set up and at about 2:35pm on the same day, November 9, 2018, at Muritala Mohammed Airport 2 Car Park H1 in Lagos, one of the officials demanding bribe was arrested.

However, when the identity of the arrested officer was examined, it turned out to be Dectective Auwal Umar, a ‘godson’ of the EFCC boss and an integral member of a special squad within the organization known as “Magu Boys”.

Rather than sanction stiff punishment for the erring officer, Magu went ahead to turn the entire case on its head by ordering the arrest of the complainants and leaving his ‘godson’ off the hook.

A source familiar with this abuse of power by the EFCC Chairman, said, “In his blind fury, Magu ordered the detention of Mr Olalekan Abdul and Mr Azubuike Ishiekwene, who made the report leading to the arrest of his godson.

“That same night, he ordered the search without any reasonable cause or a search warrant of the houses and offices of the persons whose report led to the arrest. It was when the lawyer, through whom the report was made to Mr Olukoyede threatened to call a press conference the next day to expose what was going on that Magu relented and released the unlawful captives/detainees at about 2:15am on November 10, 2018.

“But for the fact that the lawyer through whom the whistle was blown to Mr Olukoyede kept record of it, the EFCC would have succeeded in changing the story to exonerate Detective Auwal Umar and indict the people that reported him.

“Under Magu’s protection, the said Umar had been returned to his position in EFCC, thus confirming that he’s an official bribe-collector for his godfather and therefore above the law.”

The Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, appears unperturbed over the move to oust him, carrying on with his job without any qualms. But one way or the other, Buhari will either retain or remove Magu.

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