Ibrahim Magu, Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has mentioned that no amount of blackmail can deter him from fighting corruption in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), had earlier written to President Muhammadu Buhari, recommending the sack of Mr. Ibrahim Magu, the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The Street Journal learnt that in the memo to the President, Malami recommended that Ibrahim Magu should be sacked on grounds of “diversion of recovered loot, insubordination and misconduct.”
Magu, an award-winning anti-corruption Czar, on Thursday, disclosed that those stealing Nigeria’s money must be stopped. Addressing a delegation of the Nigerian Union of Journalists in Abuja, Magu said;
“Those stealing, embezzling, hiding and carrying our wealth away are not our friends. We must stop them. We must stop looters. We must stop the industry of corruption by all means and we shall surely stop them.”
“Fighting corruption is not a tea party. More than ever before, fraudsters are devising new techniques and strategies every day to beat established rules and systems. Besides, several fight-back ploys are also being fashioned to distract and discourage genuine fighters of corrupt practices. For us, all these strategies are all too-known. We are familiar with the desperation of fraudsters.”
Speaking on the accusations, Magu said he was aware of the ‘Blackmail and campaign of Calumny’ revealing that he will continue to fight and expose corruption.
“We are familiar with their blackmail and campaign of calumny but we will not give up. We will continue to expose and bring corrupt elements to book. We will never give up!”
The Street Journal had earlier reported that Malami, alongside the memo, attached a shortlist of three candidates as a possible replacement for Magu.
However, one of Magu’s supporters within the Presidency disclosed that he is fighting back against the powers that seek to replace him.
The source said:
” Removing Magu at this time when he has given muscle to Buhari’s anti-corruption fight would be a mistake.
“It is painful that the EFCC boss is facing certain powerful forces who have decided to remove him in spite of his remarkable achievements.”
Other sources have said that with the gravity of allegations heaped on Ibrahim Magu, the Presidency may be pushed to investigate him and then draw necessary conclusions.
Another source who spoke with selected journalists said:
“I can authoritatively tell you that though Ibrahim Magu has survived previous plots to remove him, the AGF’s legal opinion remains the deadliest plot to get Magu out of the EFCC as AGF’s letter to the president contained 22 weighty allegations that require Buhari’s decision on whether or not to send Magu’s name to the Senate for confirmation or replace him.
“This is because the office of the AGF is the supervising ministry of the EFCC and so his legal opinion cannot be treated with levity.
“For example, Malami alleged accounting gaps or discrepancies of figures concerning the recovered assets, claiming that Magu was not transparent enough in the management of recovered assets…”
Another Magu supporter said:
” It will interest you to note that Malami accused the EFCC boss of disclosing a total naira recovery of N504 billion but lodged N543 billion in the Recovery Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Incidentally, this exceeded the disclosed figures by N39 billion.”
The supporter added that what should be a point of commendation is now being used against Magu.
Other supporters said: “Malami also accused Ibrahim Magu of blatant display of arrogance and insubordination to him as supervising minister of the EFCC.”
“Malami claimed that most of the recovered assets by the EFCC were allegedly sold by Magu without the knowledge of anyone.
“But it is unfortunate that this claim is at variance with the public auction of assets by the EFCC,“ the source added.
Recall that Magu has faced many hurdles since his appointment as the EFCC acting chairman on November 9, 2015, which has stalled his confirmation by the Senate.
For the past five years, he has remained the interim head of the EFCC.
When the presidency insisted on Magu being confirmed, the previous Senate demanded the reversal of a damning security report on the EFCC boss from the Department of State Services (DSS), which it had cited as the reason for his non-confirmation.
After many individuals protested the continuous stay of Ibrahim Magu as acting EFCC Chairman, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja, in a judgment delivered in 2019, had held that there was no time limit in the law establishing the commission for him to act as the EFCC boss.