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Powerful forces behind the trials of 'brother' Magu

There is more to the non confirmation of Ibrahim Magu as substantive EFCC Chairman than the eyes can see
By pulse
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Two weeks ago, the Senate refused to confirm Ibrahim Magu as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

"The Senate wish to inform the public that based on available security report, the Senate cannot proceed with confirmation of Ibrahim Magu as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission", declared Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, spokesperson of the upper legislative chamber, after a rowdy executive session.

“The nomination of Ibrahim Magu is hereby rejected and has been returned to the President for further action,” Abdullahi announced.

The security report cited by the Senate as it rejected Magu alleged that the acting EFCC Chairman had flown first class and lives in a N40M mansion paid for by an allegedly corrupt individual.

Parts of the report authored by the Department of State Services (DSS) read as follows:

"Magu is currently occupying a residence rented for N40M at N20M per annum. This accommodation was not paid for from the commission's finances, but by one Umar Mohammed, air commodore retired, a questionable businessman who has subsequently been arrested by the secret service.

"For the furnishing of the residence, Magu enlisted the Federal Capital Development Authority to award a contract to Africa Energy, a company owned by the same Mohammed, to furnish the residence at the cost of N43M.

"Investigations show that the acting EFCC chairman regularly embarked on official and private trips through a private jet owned by Mohammed.

"In one of such trips, Magu flew to Maiduguri alongside Mohammed with a bank MD who was being investigated by the EFCC over complicity in funds allegedly stolen by the immediate past petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

"Furthermore, the EFCC boss has so far maintained a high profile lifestyle. This is exemplified by his preference for first class air travels. On 24 June, 2016, he flew Emirate airlines first class to Saudi Arabia to perform lesser hajj at the cost of N2.9M. This is in spite of Mr. President's directive to all public servants to fly economy class".

Pulse has however been able to establish that beyond the security report cited by the Senate, lawmakers are on a personal mission to nail Magu.

Independent sources who have spoken to this medium say the national assembly's rejection of Magu stem from nothing else but vendetta.

"Senate President Bukola Saraki has never liked Magu", offered one source who craved anonymity for this story. "Recall that under Ribadu as EFCC Chairman, Magu was the leading investigator of the anti-graft agency. He had all the corruption case files of all former Governors including that of Saraki who had just finished his second term as Governor of Kwara State. So, Saraki has never liked Magu".

Former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, was also a very close friend of Saraki.

Ibori was first arrested by the EFCC in the company of Saraki at the Kwara Governor's lodge in Abuja.

Saraki who had teamed up with Ibori to help make Umaru Musa Yar'adua President in 2007, was instrumental in weakening a Nuhu Ribadu led EFCC soon after.

Ribadu was accused of using the EFCC to witch-hunt enemies of then President Olusegun Obasanjo and was demoted from an Acting Inspector General (AIG) of Police to a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) under Yar'adua.

Ribadu was thereafter sent to the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Kuru, Jos, Plateau State, all in an attempt to weaken the EFCC.

Ribadu's reign as anti-corruption fighter was brought to a premature end with Saraki and other powerful politicians in Nigeria, pulling the strings behind the scenes the whole time.

Saraki had a say in the appointment of Farida Waziri as Ribadu's replacement.

Under Waziri, the EFCC degenerated into a toothless bulldog before going completely limp.

Sources have also told Pulse that the cabal within the Presidency is mounting enormous pressure on the Saraki led Senate not to confirm Magu as EFCC Chairman.

The cabal in the Presidency is made up of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Babachir Lawal, DSS Director Lawal Daura, Chief of Staff (CoS) Abba Kyari and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami.

According to a SaharaReporters version of events, "a source close to the AGF told our correspondent that Mr. Malami was upset that the EFCC boss was not taking directives from him regarding issues of who to prosecute or not --a decision that made him set up a national prosecution committee domiciled in his office".

According to the story from the online news platform, CoS Kyari is friends with Jide Omokore--an ally of former Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Alison Madueke.

Magu has refused to drop investigations against Omokore and his Sahara Energy. It is believed that Kyari has substantial interests in Sahara Energy.

Omokore was a beneficiary of several corrupt oil swap deals carried out under Diezani.

Magu is being pressured by Kyari to drop corruption charges against Omokore, sources at the EFCC have told Pulse.

Senate President Saraki has also not forgiven Magu for arresting his wife, Toyin Saraki, and grilling her for hours in July of 2015.

Magu led EFCC is also investigating Senate minority leader Godswill Akpabio and Senator Stella Oduah for her airport renovation projects under former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has also been embarrassed and grilled by Magu in the recent past.

The EFCC has also opened corruption files against several serving lawmakers, a source at the anti-graft agency told Pulse. His confirmation will largely depend on his acceptance to trash those case files, this medium was told.

Attempts to get Saraki's spokesperson,Yusuph Olaniyonu, to comment for this story, were unsuccessful at the time of heading to press.

The Presidency will make another attempt to get the Senate to confirm Magu as EFCC Chairman in the new year, but the forces against the acting anti-graft czar may prove insurmountable in the end.

Magu certainly has few admirers in the Senate.
All bets are off.