We Will Pursue Maina’s Case To The End – EFCC Chairman, Magu

EFCC Can't Fight Corruption Alone, Says Magu
File photo

The chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu has said that the commission is determined to pursue the case against embattled former Chairman of the defunct Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Mr Abdulrasheed Maina to a conclusive end.

The EFCC Boss speaking on Channels Television’s Programme, Sunrise Daily said the commission has commenced the renewed investigation and will pursue the case to the end.

“We are determined to get to the root of this matter. That’s why we have renewed the investigation. We will retrieve all properties or whatever must have been stolen from public funds.

“This is something that we have done as far back as 2011. The matter has been in court, and Maina was also charged before the court. He was arraigned in absentia.”

READ ALSO: EFCC Begins Search For Maina

Magu, explaining further said there are grey areas that need to be tackled appropriately, hence the need for the renewed investigation.

“There are real grey areas that need to be tackled properly. All those loopholes and gaps, we will follow it up and make sure all the people who are involved will face the full wrath of the law.”

He also said how Maina came back into the country despite being on EFCC watch list is a case that must be looked into.

“I really don’t know what happened. But I know that he has been properly placed on the watch list and he cannot sneak into this country without the law enforcement agencies. So something is wrong somewhere. Actually we need to look at that.”

Speaking on steps currently taken by the EFCC to ensure Maina’s re-arrest, he said, “He has already been declared wanted by the INTERPOL and we are going to visit other countries for assistance, particularly Dubai, USA and UK.

“We are already on the manhunt, seriously.”

Corruption, Responsible For Nigeria’s Under-Development – Magu

Ibrahim Magu, EFCC Chairman, Senate

The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu says the reason why Nigeria is yet to fully reach its potential as the giant of Africa is owing to corruption.

Mr. Magu made this known during the 20th Anniversary Public Lecture and Award Ceremony of the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria in Abuja.

The anti-graft boss, while speaking through the acting Head, Public Interface Unit of the agency, Mr. Tony Orilade noted that there would not be any sacred cow in the war against corruption.

He added, “We are blessed with both human and mineral resources. But why have we been unable to explore and exploit our potential to the fullest? Your answer is as good as mine – corruption.

“Anywhere in the world, where strict adherence to ethics and values by the citizenry is lacking, there will always be an obvious deficit in morals, which is the antidote to corruption.

“As far as we are striving to fight corruption to a standstill in Nigeria, sadly, it is fighting back, really hard.”

The EFCC boss, while regretting the alleged attack on his investigator by suspected gunmen, further solicited the cooperation of members of the press “to push for reforms in the judiciary, and society at large, by exposing corrupt elements.”

“Therefore, I am using this platform and opportunity to call on you all, members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm, to support the fight against corruption,” he said.

Mr. Magu stressed further that the agency remained unrelenting “In ensuring that we rigorously pursue our mandate of ridding Nigeria of all forms of Economic and Financial Crimes.”

Also speaking, Head of Publicity, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, commended the doggedness of the agency in combating corruption, describing the EFCC boss as being transparent and courageous.

“From day one, Magu has always been accountable and transparent to the core”, Abba said, and called on all Nigerians “To support the EFCC in the fight against corruption,” he noted.

Electoral Fraud: INEC Partners EFCC To Prosecute Erring Staff

Electoral Fraud: INEC Partners EFCC To Prosecute Erring StaffThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to prosecute any of its staff member found to have committed any offence related to its mandate.

INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, made the appeal during a meeting with the EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, at the anti-corruption agency’s headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The called followed the suspension of 205 members of staff of the electoral body, for their alleged involvement in fraud during the 2015 general elections.

Professor Yakubu said it took the INEC about four months to thoroughly investigate all the allegations contained in the interim report it received from the anti-graft agency, before a final decision could be reached.

He asked the EFCC to commence the prosecution of any staff without waiting for the conclusion of INEC’s internal investigation, if it has sufficient evidence to do so.

“If we get our elections right, we will get our democracy right; and if we get our democracy right, we will attain real development as a nation,” he told Mr Magu.

He assured the EFCC of INEC readiness to join it in creating more awareness on the consequences of corruption as a preventive measure.

According to the INEC Chairman, sensitisation is a cheaper way of fighting corruption, since it is capable of discouraging potential offenders from taking dangerous risks.

“We shall look at ways of partnering with the EFCC on this,” he said in statement issued by his spokesman, Rotimi Oyekanmi.

In his response, Mr Magu said the EFCC regards corruption as “a crime against humanity”, lauding Professor Yakubu for cooperating with the anti-graft agency in the cases involving some INEC staff.

“We are already prosecuting some INEC staff in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano and Gombe states. In the future, before we take any such case to court, we will inform INEC and share details of the Charge Sheet with you.

“And if you have anybody in your Legal Department that wants to join our prosecution team, such persons are welcome. This will add value to work,” he noted.

The EFCC boss also commended the INEC management for its decisive action on the allegation, saying: “When you take actions like these, you are reducing our work and as far as the fight against corruption is concerned, we (EFCC and INEC) are on the same page”.

Activist, Former Lawmaker React To Buhari’s Letter On Magu, SGF

Activst, Former Lawmaker React To Buhari’s Letter On Magu, SGFA former lawmaker has joined other observers, including rights activists in reacting to President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to re-nominate Mr Ibrahim Magu as EFCC Chairman and retain Mr Babachir Lawal as Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

Mr Babatunde Ogala, a former lawmaker in the Lagos state House Of Assembly, faults the interim report sent to the Presidency by the Senate as not sufficient enough to throw out the candidacy of both men.

He said that while he would not exonerate or condemn the SGF, the votes and proceeding and interim reports, did not suggest that he was given a fair hearing.

“The President has not said you were right or wrong. He has only pointed out their procedural errors.

“A legislature takes resolutions to the executive – You do not send interim reports”, he stressed, adding that the Senate had sent an incomplete report.

Questioning the actions of the Senate, he said: “Supposing the man had been sacked in your interim reports and your final reports now prove that he’s not even liable, what would have happened?”

Selective Application Of Constitution

Sharing a different view, rights activist, Richard Nwankwo, believes both the SGF and the EFCC boss, ought to have stepped down from office to allow for proper investigations into allegations leveled against them.

Nwakwo stressed that in the fight against corruption, there should be an elaborate, comprehensive and an intellectually driven campaign; which he believes is not what is playing out in reality.

nwankwo1

“Like I have repeatedly maintained, the selective application of the provisions of this constitution is the highest form of corruption.”

He then added that “even if there is no merit from the allegation from the Senate, I expect that the gladiators involved to have stepped aside for a thorough investigation to be done.”

They both gave their opinions while speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily.

President Buhari had on Monday re-submitted the name of Mr Magu to the Senate for confirmation as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

In that letter, the President explained that the nominee had satisfactorily clarified the allegation, which led to the earlier rejection by the Senate.

The President also rejected the recommendation of the Senate, asking for the removal of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, over allegation of corruption.

Different Circumstances

Meanwhile, the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), has highlighted what it called differences in the circumstances surrounding both situations involving Magu and Lawal.

In a statement made in reaction to President Buhari’s letter, the spokesman for CACOL, Mr Wale Salami, explained that “there is the imperative need to separate Magu’s case and that of Babachir”.

Buhari Orders Probe Of Top Government Officials

Buhari Orders Probe Of Top Government OfficialsThe Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the probe of some of his top appointees following allegations of corruption.

The President’s Spokesperson, Mr Garba Shehu announced this in a statement on Sunday.

“The attention of the Presidency has been drawn to a number of reports in the media, in which various accusations of corruption have been levelled against some top officials in the administration.

“In that regard, President Buhari has instructed the Attorney General of the Federation to investigate the involvement of any top government officials accused of any wrong-doing.

“If any of them are liable they will not escape prosecution,” the statement reads.

Although the statement does not specify the identities of those marked for probe, the move might not be unconnected to allegations of corruption against the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir Lawal.

cabal, presidency, SGF, Babachir LawalThe Senate on Wednesday, December 14, demanded the resignation of the SGF
over his alleged involvement in a 223-million-naira contract meant for the humanitarian crisis management in the north east.

The Senate also refused to grant confirmation to the nomination of Ibrahim Magu as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) saying ‘security report’ available to it showed that Mr Magu is not fit to be chairman of the body.

In this regard, the lawmakers sent back his nomination letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Although the SGF has denied the allegations against him, his comments have not gone down well with the Senate, who have expressed displeasure at his choice of words.

Mr Magu is yet to react to his non-confirmation by the Senate but a number of civil society organisations have condemned the decision.

Apparently Manufactured

The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL, described the Senate’s non-confirmation of Mr. Ibrahim Magu based on what was described as a ‘security report’ from the Department of State Services (DSS) as appalling and ridiculous.

In a statement by its Executive Chairman, Debo Adeniran, the group believes that the Senate knows Magu’s salts and the fact that he is worth it and are only trying to stop him from leading the anti-corruption fight.

Magu's Confirmation: Conspiracy Between DSS And Senate Is Appalling - CACOLCACOL stated: “The truth is, if mischief was not involved, why would the DSS submit the so-called damning report to the Senate, rather than begin where they should have begun?

“For crying out loud, the head of the DSS sits on the Board of the Commission of EFCC as constitutionally required by the Act that established the agency i.e. EFCC Establishment Act 2004.

“Again, why would such a sensitive report on someone who has occupied such a sensitive position for about one year be delayed till this time? What sort of security apparatus will so wickedly wait till now while our country was at such ‘grievous’ risk before releasing these apparently manufactured allegations against Magu?”

Politically Motivated

The Socio-Economic Rights And Accountability (SERAP), has also dragged the Nigerian Senate before the United Nations over its rejection of Ibrahim Magu as substantive chairman of the EFCC.

SERAP petitioned the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, over alleged intimidation, harassment and unfair treatment of Mr Magu by the Senate in collaboration with other agencies of government.

According to the group, the upper house used what it describes as “a purported security report it knew, or ought to know is baseless and politically motivated” to reject Mr Magu’s confirmation as substantive EFCC Chairman.

Obanikoro Returns 100 Million Naira To F.G

Musiliu Obanikoro, EFCC, Ekiti election, ObanikoroThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said a former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, has returned the sum of 100 million Naira to the Nigerian Government.

Spokesperson of the anti-graft agency, Wilson Uwujaren, on Thursday confirmed the payment to Channels Television.

He said the EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Magu, rejected the initial offer and demanded that the former Minister signed an undertaking to pay back the sum of 600 million Naira within a stipulated time.

But the former Minister rejected, claiming he had no means of raising such amount.

In the meantime, the EFCC has begun the verification of  payments as interrogations continue.

Obanikoro Reports To EFCC

Three months after his invitation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), a former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, has reported to the anti-graft agency.

Senator Obanikoro returned to the country on Monday from the U.S. and later proceeded to an EFCC facility.

The former minister who also represented Lagos state in the Senate, had been a subject of interest to the commission in connection with alleged diversion of arms funds.

He has been accused of involvement in corrupt practices, as the anti-corruption campaign of the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration intensified with a clampdown on some public officials from the previous administration.

The EFCC has said that it has proof that Obanikoro received a total of 4.745 billion Naira from the office of the former National Security Adviser between April 4, 2014, and December 15, 2014 through companies belonging to his sons.

Mr Obanikoro has been in the United States since 2015 after the general elections, where he said he was pursuing leadership and language courses at an American university.

The 2015 election saw his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), unseated at the centre.

EFCC Clamps Down On Former Governors, Politicians In South-South Nigeria

EFCC, NigeriaThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Nigeria’s south-south zone has begun investigating some individuals in the area, including former governors.

The anti-graft agency says they are being investigated in matters of fraud and money laundering.

The South-south Zonal Head of the EFCC, Ishaq Salihu, made the disclosure to journalists on Wednesday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

He said those found wanting after the investigation would be charged appropriately.

Mr Salihu revealed that at least 50% of the one billion Naira recovered so far in the last 10 months was from politicians.

He added that among those that have been nabbed was an internet fraudster who defrauded Europeans and Americans, posing as the former Chairman of the agency, Ibrahim Larmode.

The EFCC zonal head also informed reporters of the case of a school certificate holder who had practiced for years as a senior lawyer.

Freezing Accounts Is Backed By Law – EFCC

EFCCThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says freezing of accounts suspected of being used for financial crimes is a mandatory investigative step backed by law.

The anti-graft agency was responding to reactions that trailed the freezing of accounts of suspects that were investigated or currently being investigated.

A statement by the Head, Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, on Monday stressed the need to explain the reason behind the actions in order to prevent misinformation.

“Indeed, Section 34 (1) of the EFCC Act 2004 empowers the Commission to freeze any account suspected of being used for financial crimes.

“The section stipulates that, the Chairman of the Commission or any officer authorised by him may, if satisfied that the money in the account of a person is made through the commission of an offence under this Act, or any enactment specified under Section 6(2) (a)-(f) of this Act, apply to the Court ex-parte for power to issue or instruct a bank examiner or such other appropriate authority to freeze the account,” the statement read.

Incidental To Investigation

The agency also noted that similar provision in the Money Laundering Prohibition Act also allowed the EFCC Chairman or his representatives to place a stop order on any account or transaction suspected to be involved in any crime.

“The intendment of these provisions is to ensure that the Commission safeguards suspected proceeds of crime pending the completion of its investigation.

“It is without prejudice to the social standing of the holder of such accounts or whether they are individual, corporate or government accounts,” the statement added.

The anti-graft agency maintained that the freezing orders were incidental to investigation and doing otherwise would jeopardise the prospects of recovering stolen assets.

Senate To Begin Process Of Issuing Arrest Warrant To Lamorde

lamorde-efcc-senateThe Nigerian Senate is to begin the process of issuing an arrest warrant to  former EFCC Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Lamorde.

At the continuation of legislative proceedings on Thursday, the Senate directed its Committee on Ethics Privileges and Public Petition to begin the process of issuing a warrant of arrest to the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over allegations of diverting EFCC’s recovered loot.

The Senate Committee on Ethics is recommending that an arrest warrant be issued to the former anti-graft agency boss for failing to appear before the committee, despite several invitations from the committee.

The Ethics Committee has been investigating allegations levelled on Mr Lamorde by a petitioner, Mr George Uboh, who is asking the Senate to investigate the Former EFCC Chairman over allegations of Financial Crime and Corruption while in office.

Lawyer Faults EFCC Chairman’s Statement About Judiciary

lawyerA Nigerian Lawyer has expressed dissatisfaction in a statement by the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu about the judiciary.

On Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Mr Emeka Etiaba said: “I think the Chairman of the EFCC is not getting it correctly”. He described the EFCC’s claims that lawyers collect corruption-tainted briefs from persons accused of corruption as misplaced.

“A situation where judges are branded as enemies of fight against corruption should not be accepted by any right thinking persons,” the lawyer stated.

Mr Magu had passed a damning verdict on members of the inner bar, as he accused prominent lawyers of frustrating the ongoing war against corruption in Nigeria.

According to Mr Magu, these prominent members of the bar collect corruption-tainted briefs, then aid and abet those who commit crimes by furnishing them with technical knowledge of how to escape the long arms of the law, as well as how to hide the loot they had stolen.

Corruption Tainted Cases

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria said: “I think that issue of judiciary not being responsive, is not correct because this country is ruled by set of laws and every trial that must go, should be within the purview of the law.

“If the acting Chairman of the EFCC believes that senior lawyers are making prosecution of corruption cases difficult, there are senior lawyers, who are available to join the prosecution team. They have even manifested the intention and they should be employed by the EFCC to join the team of prosecution.

“Probably if that is done, there would be a more fair playing ground and nobody would complain that any suspect has employed the services of a senior council,” he explained.

Giving his opinion about the impression of the EFCC Chairman as regards the statement, the lawyer said that “corruption-tainted cases do not automatically amount to guilt.

“Let the lawyers, who conduct corruption cases, not be seen as being against the fight against corruption,” he maintained.

Mr Etiaba, however, commended the EFFC in its mode of investigation.

“I will also commend the EFCC because I noticed that within these few days, their style of investigation has changed a little bit.

“The EFCC used to be physical in its investigation, but now, it is a bit more intellectual,” he pointed out.

 

2016 Budget Defence: EFCC, Health Ministry Ask For More Funding

EFCCThe Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has appealed for more funding to help it carry out its mandate of checking financial crimes in the country.

This appeal was made by the chairman of the commission, Mr Ibrahim Magu, when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes to defend the commission’s 2016 budget.

“I very much believe that even if you’re going to give us everything we have asked for, it will not be adequate but considering the situation we are, there is nothing we can do,” he said.

The EFCC Chairman was also questioned on the agency’s decision to investigate different sectors of the economy.

As work continues on the 2016 budget that is before the National Assembly, committees have been meeting with the representatives of the different arms of the executive to put finishing touches to the over 6 trillion naira budget.

The Minister of Health also brought this same appeal for more funding when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Health.

Prof. Isaac Adewole raised the issue of shortfall in the ministry’s budget.

“When we looked at the budget including submissions from the teaching hospitals, medical centres and agencies, it came down to 347 billion and we got only 335.7 which is about 10%.”

He also touched on the Zika virus that is becoming a global concern, “I want to say that Zika has been with since 1954. About 25% of Nigerians are positive to Zika virus but what has happened is that it has done nothing to us,” he said, while explaining the need for more action.

The Committee on Local Content also scrutinized the budget of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board while the Committee on Science and Technology is also holding its meeting with agencies under its committee.

A lot of the committees are still expected to appear before the 2016 budget would be presented to the House in plenary.

Holding Charge Against Metuh Is Illegal, PDP Tells EFCC, FG

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says the continued incarceration of its spokesman by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission without charging him to court, clearly shows the dictatorial character of the APC-led Government.

The party in a statement on Saturday condemned the detention of its spokesman and described it as the APC-led Federal Government’s disdain for the rule of law and an appetite to gag the opposition.

It said that the continued detention of Mr Olisa Metuh was in clear breach of his constitutionally guaranteed liberty and fundamental rights.

In the statement by its National Legal Adviser, Mr Victor Kwon, the opposition party stressed that relying on a purported ‘holding charge’ said to have been derived from a Magistrate to detain Mr Metuh beyond the statutory period allowed by the law was in total violation of the constitution and extant corresponding rulings by several trial and appellate courts in the country.

Illegal Clamp-Down

“We draw the attention of all Nigerians and the international community to this illegal clamp-down on the opposition spokesman by the EFCC, using a purported holding charge said to have been derived from a magistrate court.

“Holding charge which implies ‘arrest before investigation’ instead of ‘investigation before arrest’ is clearly an aberration and abuse of judicial process which has since been declared by several courts as illegal, null and void, and of no effect as it is totally in contradiction with section 35 (1), (4), (5a) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the statement read.

The PDP further expressed worries that Mr Metuh, since his arrest on Tuesday, was being inhumanly kept in an underground cell where he was daily threatened by officials, who it gathered, had been mounting pressure on him to accept guilt of fictitious figures and implicate some PDP leaders.

“Era Of Dictatorship”

“The public is very much aware that the EFCC Chairman has visited the Presidential villa at least twice since Mr Metuh was arrested and detained by the Commission, ostensibly to get further directives on the case.

“We invite the world to note that President Buhari’s election promise of fighting corruption has now been turned into a man-hunt of PDP leaders, while known corrupt APC leaders are being shielded by the system and rewarded with ministerial positions and other government appointments.

“Our nation is now being turned into a police state with its inherent constitutional violations and infringement on rights of citizens, a scenario which poses grave danger to national stability and survival of our democracy.

“The  PDP strongly cautions against the avoidable tension and looming political crisis over the continuous clamp-down on our leaders and particularly, the continued incarceration of our spokesperson, Mr Metuh, who was arrested a few days after he confronted the Federal Government and the APC over their dictatorial pronouncements and actions.

“Our teeming members across the country have so far exercised reasonable restrain, but we caution that there is a limit to what they can stomach in the face of this brazen persecution of our spokesman. The President Buhari-led APC government and the EFCC should therefore hold themselves responsible should there be any breakdown of law and order in the land over this matter.

“We therefore reinforce our demand on the EFCC to respect the course of law and release Mr Metuh immediately or charge him to court in line with the provisions of our laws if it strongly feels it has a case against him.

“Nigerians cannot afford to return to the era of dictatorship where constitutional provisions, respect for lawful processes and personal freedom of citizens under the law are trampled upon. Their response to this might come with very dire consequences”, the statement further read.

On  Tuesday, January 5, 2016, the EFCC arrested Mr Olisa Metuh.

A statement issued by the Special Assistant to Mr Metuh stated that he was arrested at his home by four officials of the EFCC at about 10:00am local and was taken away in an unmarked white Hiace bus.

The statement added that the officials told the opposition party’s spokesman that he was being invited on a friendly note to answer questions at the anti-graft agency’s headquarters in Abuja.