Barely a few hours after the Senate’s rejection of the confirmation of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, as the substantive head of the agency, there were indications that Presidency is under pressure to re-present him. It was however learnt that petty politics within the kitchen cabinet […]
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Barely a few hours after the Senate’s rejection of the confirmation of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, as the substantive head of the agency, there were indications that Presidency is under pressure to re-present him.

It was however learnt that petty politics within the kitchen cabinet of the President partially accounted for Magu’s rejection.

Also, senators and some former ministers under investigation from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party( PDP) were uncomfortable with Magu, it was learnt.

Some former governors in the chamber who are under probe were said to have vowed to frustrate Magu’s confirmation.

But a security report from the Department of State Services (DSS) allegedly advised against clearance of Magu as EFCC chairman.

Some highly-placed Nigerians and international bodies have started making representations to the Presidency to re-present Magu

It was gathered that the concerned people and bodies felt Magu’s rejection was designed to “slow down” the pace of the anti-corruption war.

It was learnt that those described as “corrupt  forces” had hatched a plan to “frustrate Magu out of EFCC.”

They were believed to be acting in cahoot with some members of the President’s kitchen cabinet to deal with Magu.

One of their plans was to use the Senate to  reject Magu’s appointment as EFCC chairman, a source said.

Their Plan B, said the source is to influence President Muhammadu Buhari to make  Magu to  revert to EFCC Director of Operations (DOP).

According to a source, such a reversal of role may make Magu to request for a fresh posting in the police.

But some concerned Nigerians and international organisations have been mounting pressure on the Presidency not to allow corrupt elements to derail the anti-graft war.

A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “There is no doubt that there is pressure on the Presidency to re-present Magu to the Senate as EFCC chairman.

“The pressure is coming from concerned Nigerians and international organisations who believe that Magu is the defining point of President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption agenda.

“The people and organisations have also made representations to members of the Presidential Committee Against Corruption( PCAC).

“But a few powerful ones are dropping some names who they think Buhari should choose from to replace Magu.

“The ball is in Buhari’s court to either re-present Magu or leave him as the acting EFCC chairman for the next two years to take the anti-corruption war to the next level. The law allows Magu to act for as long as three years.”

Another source spoke of the petty politics within the President’s kitchen cabinet as accounting for Magu’s rejection.

“But the kitchen cabinet war between the first and second groups have been intense in the past few months and they have drawn the battle line. Magu is just a victim”.

“Curiously, all other security agencies, including the police, the highly-cerebral and respected National Intelligence Agency( NIA) cleared Magu, based on the rating of many countries.”

Sensing danger, the EFCC on June 21, through its spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, issued a statement.

The statement said in part: “The report, quoting anonymous sources, alleged that Muhammed, who is a member of the Arms Procurement Committee, is ‘fronting for some members of the committee’, including ‘high ranking officials in the EFCC and ONSA’.

“Though the report falls short of naming the so-called officials that Mohammed is allegedly fronting for, it is common knowledge that the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, is the only member of the Arms Procurement Committee from the Commission.

“The EFCC views with grave concern this spirited attempt to create doubts in the minds of less discerning Nigerians and members of the international community regarding the integrity of its acting chairman. To all intent and purposes, this devious report is another avenue of corruption fighting back as some people have been uncomfortable with the uncompromising stance of the Acting EFCC Chairman in the fight against corruption.

“The EFCC wishes to categorically state that no official of the agency that is directly or remotely connected with the work of the Arms Procurement Committee has had any dealings that verge on fraud with Air Commodore Mohammed or any other member of the Committee.  It challenges anybody with contrary information to come forward with the evidence.

“The EFCC as a body upholds zero tolerance for corruption and will not condone any act that amounts to corruption. If Mohammed is established to have engaged in any illegal activity, he should be held liable.

“In view of the gravity of the issues, the EFCC calls on the Presidency to set up a high-powered inquiry to verify the claims of the report and those who have made it their sole business to impugn the integrity of others and cast doubt on the credibility of the  anti-corruption war.”

Surviving another plot

The acting EFCC chairman survived a second plot to rope him into the travails of Air Commodore Mohammed Umar.

Another source said: “Following security report that Magu’s security cannot be guaranteed in Karu, a suburb of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory Administration( FCTA) was mandated to look for accommodation for him.

“Magu did not  want to leave his rustic flat in Karu but the Chief of Staff mounted pressure on him to leave the place. Magu did not know how an official residence was got for him. But the DSS allegedly traced Air Cmdr. Umar as having to do with how the house was secured as a rented apartment.

“The DSS was said to have discovered that the duplex, belonging to the late Prof. Dora Akunyili, was allegedly furnished with N40 million. The amount was considered outrageous.

“But Magu did not know how the furniture in the house were bought. Everything in the house was bought by civil servants in charge of accommodation in FCTA. Yet, he almost paid dearly for it

“Since, then, Magu’s fate has been tied to Air. Commodore Umar. The first camp in the kitchen cabinet is also latching on it.

“The no love lust between the EFCC chairman and the DG of DSS led to different operations on corrupt judges by the two agencies. Even when the DSS insisted before the National Assembly that its sting operations were legal, the EFCC presented a position to the contrary.”

Attempt to make up

Notwithstanding, as the EFCC acting chairman, Magu, it was gathered, tried to mend fences with all Service Chiefs and heads of security agencies.

“He spent the last few weeks to foster unity and rapprochement with all Service chiefs and heads of security agencies, especially on the launch of Nigerian Women Against Corruption (NWAC) Brigade which is being championed by the wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari,” the source said, adding:

“But despite the olive branch, no Service chief attended the launch. Some of them either did not want to incur the wrath of the cabal in the Presidency or they opted to be neutral in the Cold War.”

A fourth source alleged that some members of the kitchen cabinet were “unnecessarily afraid of Magu” at the speed he was going.

The source said: “Magu is passionate, he is unbendable and even if you are his wife, you cannot ask him to stop any investigation.

“Some members of the kitchen cabinet were uncomfortable with him.

“At a point, they started sponsoring dissent within EFCC with a female staff in Human Resources Unit pitched against Magu.”

The gang-up in

the Senate

Since the rejection of Magu, all Senators contacted have been hiding under the alibi of security report by  the DSS.

But The Nation learnt that PDP senators and a few in the APC did not want Magu confirmed.

The senators were allegedly backed by some of the ministers under investigation.

It was gathered that some of the senators and ex-ministers were unhappy with the ongoing investigation of N29.9 billion poll bribery scam which was facilitated by former Petroleum Resources Minister Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The Senate source said: “Some of our colleagues are on trial and others under investigation. Some senators have their godfathers also under EFCC probe. They have vowed to stop Magu’s confirmation.

“PDP senators felt the war against corruption by EFCC has been  one-sided. In fact, there is a senator from Southeast who is pro- Patience Jonathan and has been campaigning against Magu. The senator has been coordinating the media war and  street protests against the acting EFCC chairman.

“The Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, tried to persuade his colleagues to see why Magu should be confirmed; they hissed at him.

“In fact, it was learnt that one of them told the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki that ‘this man has not been confirmed, he dealt with your wife. He will do worse things if you give him full powers.’ The senators were not comfortable with Magu.

“At a point, Saraki was under pressure and he made it clear that he was not opposed to Magu’s confirmation. He said he had left his wife’s travails to God.

“Magu smoothened his relationship with the Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, and the Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption in the past three weeks during oversight functions but that did not stop their plot to reject him.

“ Some aggrieved elements in the kitchen cabinet  and all bigwigs on trial also infiltrated the Senate to stop Magu’s confirmation.”

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Source:The Nation Nigeria