Ibrahim Magu, former acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), allegedly suppressed corruption cases of a current and three former governors.
The Justice Ayo Salami investigative panel said while overseeing the EFCC, Magu “directed designated operatives not to investigate” the allegations of corruption against the four individuals.
The former governors in question were identified as Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Kano), Donald Duke (Cross River) and Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), who is a current senator.
Ahmadu Fintiri, Adamawa governor, who had led the state for some months in 2014, was also mentioned among the “prominent politically exposed persons” whom Magu “suppressed” their cases.
Abubakar Malami, the attorney-general of the federation (AGF), who had first recommended Magu’s removal to President Muhammadu Buhari, was asked to direct the investigation and facilitate “possible prosecution” of the former EFCC boss over the alleged sharp practices found by the panel.
Following Malami’s petition to Buhari, Magu was investigated by the panel and eventually replaced as EFCC chairman after being indicted for abuse of office.
The former EFCC boss denied any wrongdoing when he appeared before the investigative panel.
In the report submitted in November 2020, the EFCC, under the former acting chairman’s watch, was accused of “causing the disappearance of evidence, stoppage and suppression of cases under investigation and prosecution, and omitting to arrest suspects”.
The report said the cases involved prominent politicians such as Ike Ekweremadu, former deputy senate president; Haruna Momoh, former managing director of the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC); Stella Oduah, senator from Anambra state, among others, and including “all US Dollar-related cases reported by ONSA [office of the national security adviser]”.
ON ARMS PROCUREMENTS ‘CONTRACT FRAUD’
The panel recommended the investigation of Magu’s “conduct” in relation to the probe of the “arms procurements contract fraud in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA)”.
The committee also directed the EFCC to “immediately resuscitate and conclude investigations into all the abandoned procurement fraud cases” in the NSA office.
Further investigations were also directed to be carried out on Magu and other staff of the EFCC over their “conduct” in an alleged bribery case involving Donald Wokoma, a businessman.
‘COMPROMISE, MISCONDUCT, MISUSE OF PUBLIC FUNDS’
The Salami panel also asked the AGF to direct relevant agencies to investigate Magu “for compromising the investigation of the case against Hima Aboubakar for possible prosecution”.
The EFCC had in 2020 declared Aboubakar wanted over an alleged case of criminal conspiracy, contract scam, misappropriation of public funds, money laundering and fraud to the tune of $394 million, €9.9 million and N369 million.
As the chief executive officer of Societe D`Equipment Internationaux (SEI), he was said to have received the funds for the purchase of equipment for the Nigerian military but “investigations have revealed discrepancies in the supply of the equipment”, according to the commission.
The panel also said Magu should be subjected to investigation and possible prosecution “for failing to account for security/information funds amounting to N431 million”.
The funds were said to have been released to his office between November 2015 and May 2020.
It has been about eight months since the panel submitted its report, but most of its recommendations are yet to be implemented.
Wahab Shittu, Magu’s lawyer, declined comments on the panel’s report when contacted by TheCable on Wednesday.
“We have chosen for now to maintain a dignified silence until there’s an official pronouncement on all of these issues and then we react to it,” he said, adding that, “our client has answers to all these but for now, he wants to maintain a dignified silence as a person who respects due process, rule of law and constituted authorities.”
It was reported that the former EFCC boss is being considered for promotion to the rank of assistant inspector-general (AIG) by the Police Service Commission (PSC) despite the indictment.