Indications have emerged that embattled acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, may be asked to stepped down pending the conclusion of investigations into allegations against him after he was grilled for over six hours on Monday at Aso Rock Villa by a presidential panel set up by the President Muhammadu Buhari.
The panel interrogated Magu at the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, following his arrest earlier in the day by armed operatives of the Department of State Services.
The panel, led by a former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami (retd.), had about seven other members including the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Mike Ogbizi. Representatives from the Office of the National Security Adviser, the DSS and other related agencies are also on the panel.
The grilling was in camera, as journalists were barred.
Mr. Magu was reportedly detained on Monday night at the police headquarters in Abuja and will face another day of questioning on Tuesday over the activities of the agency under his leadership.
Juxtapose this with claims by the EFCC that Magu was not arrested. Despite the fact that he was picked up by plain clothes DSS operatives in front of the old EFCC headquarters on Fomella Street, Wuse 2, Abuja, around 12noon on Monday.
Magu, who was with his security details, was shown a letter of invitation from the presidential panel requesting his presence.
The EFCC boss reportedly told the security agents that he would honour the invitation on a later date but they refused and insisted that he followed them to the Presidential Villa.
It is gathered that Magu’s security details tried to prevent his arrest but the DSS operatives overpowered them, insisting that they were following presidential orders. They eventually took Magu into custody and brought him before the panel.
A source told CHECKPOINTCHARLEY that 24 allegations were levelled against the EFCC boss – the face of Nigeria’s fight against corruption.
Most of the allegations are said to be from a report by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), and a DSS report which was submitted to the Senate in 2016 and 2017.
Mr. Magu, who has been in acting capacity for about five years, is accused of living above his means, fraternising with corrupt persons, diversion of recovered funds, among other things. He was also accused of insubordination.
The probe was instigated by a formal complaint by Malami against Magu. The AGF had reportedly complained to Buhari about Magu’s conduct and advised that he should be sacked. He was also said to have accused Magu of insubordination and discrepancies in the figures of funds recovered by the EFCC, disposing of assets, especially buildings seized from corrupt politicians and others, without approval, or knowledge of the AGF’s office, which is the supervisory ministry of the EFCC.
The Governor of Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele and the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, are expected to make submissions before the panel on the funds and real estates recovered by the EFCC.
Magu, the source said, was allowed to leave after about six hours and may be asked to return to make further interrogation.
DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya, had also denied that Magu was arrested by the agency. However, the facts supports that Mr. Magu was denied his freedom for a couple of hours and was forced to appear before the panel for interrogation.
In a statement titled “Magu not arrested by DSS,” Afunanya wrote, “The Department of State Services wishes to inform the public that it did not arrest Ibrahim Magu, acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission as has been reported by sections of the media.
“The service has since, today, July 6, 2020, been inundated with enquiries over the alleged arrest.”
Recall that the Nigerian Senate under Dr Bukola Saraki had refused to confirm Mr. Magu as EFCC chairman based on a security report by the DSS.