Magu: Panel demands politicians’ files from 2015 •May examine 106 names released in 2017

The presidential panel probing the suspended acting chairman of the Economic c and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has reportedly demanded the files of Politically Exposed Persons (PEP) handled by the commission since 2015.

The detained Commissioner of Police was appointed in an acting capacity by President Muhammadu Buhari on November  9, 2015, and was arrested on Monday 6 July 2020 to answer questions bordering on corruption and insubordination.

The panel, which has been grilling Magu since he was arrested, has also reportedly summoned departmental heads of the commission and other witnesses some of who appeared before it on Thursday and Friday.

A competent security source told Saturday Tribune on Friday that the decision of the panel to check the books of Magu from the beginning of his headship of the commission five years ago coupled with the search conducted on his Abuja residence on Tuesday were pointers to a possible the decision to prosecute or detain him indefinitely.

“You know when we start searching for houses and demanding to see old and new files, we are looking for evidence to prosecute and detain legally. That is it. He may appear in court soon after the panel submits its report or he will be kept in a hat we call protective custody just as was done to Sambo Dasuki,” the source said.

The source spoke as it was disclosed on Friday that Magu has written a letter to the Inspector General of Police demanding that he be granted bail.

Also on Friday, President Buhari finally announced his the decision to place Magu on suspension while the next most senior operative in the commission was asked to take over in acting capacity. Under Magu’s leadership, t h e commission h a s investigated tens of former public office holders, including the sacked Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen; a  sacked Head of Service, Mrs Winifred Oyo Ita; former Senate President, Bukola Saraki; former First Lady, Mrs Patience  Jonathan; former top military brass, chiefs of the intelligence community and former governors.

Magu has also been accused of not touching petitions against some leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC), Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Honourable Mudashiru Obasa; and Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje.

The problem between him and the office of the Attorney General of the Federation began over his refusal to avail the occupant of that office, Abubakar Malami (SAN) of the probe files, despite the minister being the statutory supervisor of the commission. The minister openly accused Magu of insubordination then. In his memo that began the current travails for the police officer, the twin issue of insubordination and misconduct formed the pillar of the case against him.

At a point during their rift in September 2017, Magu released a list of 106 persons under alleged corruption probe to the minister’s office. The brickbats resumed after the leak of the list within days of the exchange.

Both parties denied leaking the list to the media. On the list were notable names like Onnoghen and Ayodele Fayose, who is facing trial. Others were the incumbent governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, and his predecessor, Captain Idris Wada; former Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, now Minister of Niger Delta; former Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State, who is now facing trial; former Governor Ali Modu Sherriff of Borno State and former Governor Lucky Igbinedion of Edo State.

Expectedly, Dame Patience Jonathan, the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, was listed alongside some ministers who served in her husband’s administration.

Nearly all the former ministers are now on trial. Former ministers on the list included Mrs Diezani Alison-M a dueke, Mr Mohammed Adoke (SAN), Bala Mohammed, who is now governor of Bauchi State; Mrs Stella Oduah and Godsday Orubebe.

Also on the list was a former Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Abdullahi Dikko, who entered into lea bargain; Uche Secondus, now the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); Colonel Bello Fadile (retd.),  who served embattled former  National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki; Justice Abdu Kafarati, who became the Chief judge of the Federal High Court and retired on July  25, 2019, as well as Justice Mohammed Tsamiya, who was eventually sacked by the  National Judicial Council.

The EFCC stated in the document that it was investigating the CJN based on intelligence referred to it on October 12, 16.

After the leakage, Magu said in a statement that he wasn’t probing Onnoghen. However, the commission eventually submitted a  petition and probe report to the National Judicial Council (NJC) against the then-CJN, which was eventually used by the jurist’s colleagues to nail him.

In the document, the commission explained that it received a petition against Fayose, then a sitting governor, on August  3, 2016, but the investigation had been stalled due to alleged lack of cooperation from the Ekiti State government officials. It added that the case against Akpabio was referred to it on May 10, 2016, but had been stalled due too an injunction granted by a High Court of Akwa Ibom State stopping the probe, adding that though the Court of Appeal had set aside from the injunction, the Akwa Ibom State government under Udom Emmanuel had filed an appeal.

It stated that the cases against Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State and his predecessor, Captain Idris Wada was referred to the EFCC on September 29, 2016, and April 16, 2016, respectively. The case against Patience Jonathan alongside Ariwabu Aruera Reachout Foundation was referred red to the commission on September 26, 2016, while  Oduah’s was on April 5, 2016.

According to the commission, Sherriff became a subject of the probe following an intelligence report received on  October 10, 2016, while the petition against Diezani was received on June 20, 2016, and the one against her husband on  January 14, 2016. Magu had told the Attorney General than that Justice  Kafarati’s case file was with him.

 

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