Justice Ayo Salami, Chairman of the presidential panel investigating Ibrahim Magu, the suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), says he does not regret his appointment to serve on the panel.
Magu is being investigated over allegations of abuse of office and mismanagement of recovered assets from May 2015 to May 2020 — the time he acted as Acting Chairman of the anti-graft agency.
Magu’s lawyers have always disagreed with the panel. But in a memo on Tuesday, Salami accused the lawyers of planting reports in the media that he regrets chairing the panel.
Justice Salami said in the memo that,“The reports were a figment of the wild imagination of the reporter, the two lawyers quoted as his sources and the medium that published the story,”
“There was no time anything near the unthinkable scenario painted in the false story occurred in any meeting between myself and the lawyers to Magu or any other person, for that matter, since the Judicial Commission of Inquiry began its sittings.
“I have no cause to express any regret over my Chairmanship of the Commission, not to talk of betraying any form of emotion before anyone about it. I see my appointment to serve as the Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry as an honour and call to service, thus my decision to accept diligently and patriotically discharge this responsibility.
“I have never appointed any of the two lawyers or any other person(s) to speak on my behalf as I can express myself without recourse to the lawyers of the persons we are probing. As an eminent jurist, who retired as the President of the Court of Appeal, I have handled much more complex cases than the current one before the Commission. There is no doubt that the false reports were aimed at causing mischief and tarnishing my hard-earned reputation and integrity. I remain resolute and committed to the service of the nation and ready to champion the ideals of justice and fairness.
“I want to point out that such wild claims against me and the Commission are not strange to me, given the manner in which the lawyers to Magu have been carrying on in the conduct of their client’s case before the Commission. Planting such lies in the media about proceedings at the panel has been their pastime. They believe that it is by engaging in such media propaganda against the Commission that their client can be easily absolved of the various allegations that have been brought against him.”
Asking Nigerians to disregard the report, the retired president of the appeal court said the “lies and blackmail” will not deter him and other members of the panel from discharging their duty and mandate.
He said in conclusion, that the panel which he chairs will continue its investigation of the allegations against Magu with a view to unearthing the truth and ensuring that justice is done.
Professor Itse Sagay (SAN), the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), the renowned constitution guru, calls on Nigerians and the members of the National assembly against the amendment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act.
The call was in a statement signed by Sagay, and released by the Communication Unit of the committee, where he said the planned amendment was part of “an on-going very sinister and dangerous attempt to demolish the anti-corruption infrastructure of Nigeria and return it to the situation it was in during the dark days before 2015.
Prof. Sagay added that those behind it “are the representatives of the corrupt establishment that brought this country to its knees and subjected us to humiliation as a result of an extremely negative reputation internationally”.
The controversial bill seeks to weaken the EFCC and its officials and confer an enormous power of control of the anti-graft agency on the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
Although, Sagay did not mention the name of the incumbent AGF, Abubakar Malami (SAN), as the sponsor of the controversial bill, he tackled the minister for what he described as his proclivity for aborting criminal cases in favour of major political and governmental figures.
He noted that the draft bill which intended to repeal the EFCC Establishment Act 2004, was being sponsored by those that were “too ashamed to put their names to the draft bill being circulated”.
Without mentioning the names of the alleged sponsors of the bill, Sagay described them as the “enemies of Nigeria”.
Malami, whose memo to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), triggered the ongoing probe of the suspended Acting Chairman of EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu, by the Justice Ayo Salami-led panel for various allegations of corruption, abuse of office, and insubordination, has been linked to the controversial bill in the media.
Citing various provisions of the bill, Sagay said it would eliminate the anti-graft agency’s “freedom and autonomy” and replace it with “an entity under the complete control of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General”.
The Professor further added that the proposed bill if passed, would effectively turn the commission into a department in the Federal Ministry of Justice.
Corruption: A Parasite That Retards Collective National Development – Mukhtar Garba Kobi
It is unarguable true that the problem of corruption has being in existence since time immemorial. Corruption is frequent in each and every society and it happens almost everyday. It has several shapes as well as various effects but that varies from one society to another, it deals with subverting public fund, etiolating morals, defalcating staff’s benefits, absurdifying tax & fines, political misconduct and decadences in spheres of human endeavours.
The wound of corruption has eaten deep down the flesh and melted in veins of fellow countrymen. It usually starts from home between husband and wife, mother and children, down to entire society. It generates a lack of transparency and a lack of control by supervisory institutions, corruption paves way for a non transparent functioning of social, political and economic sectors.
Corruption is the dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in position of power or followers which typically involves bribery. According to Morris (1991), corruption can be seen as the illegitimate use of power to benefit a private interest. It also entails offering of bribe to an official so that the truth of a situation will be hidden. It covers the embezzlement of public funds for personal use, giving a token to scale a course by students, offering some amount to skip paying actual fine to security agents and any act that is considered to be criminal in nature which is contrary to the laws enshrined by code or constitution. In 2001, Nigeria was ranked the second most corrupt nation in the world out of 91 countries, second only to Bangladesh.
Recently in 2019, Transparency International ranked Nigeria as 146th out of 180 countries surveyed on corruption with 26% corruption index. This reveals that level of corruption has mercilessly stabbed Nigeria deep to a state of unending stupor.
Furthermore, corruption retards economic growth of a country, slows down business operation, blocks employment opportunities and halts investors from foreign countries in investing. The wider society is persuaded when the gravity of corruption is high, the executive arm of government tends to not bring policies and programmes for development, judiciary will then be chocked with angry and money egocentric judges which makes citizens lose confidence in them.
The legislative arm can then be taciturn and passive by not passing bills that could reduce burdens and dilapidated infrastructures. The level of corruption in Nigeria hurts a lot of people as money which supposed to be used in purveying developmental projects to better lives is channeled into the pockets of selected few.
The sad part of it is that the current Nigerian government and the ruling party turned to redemption camp; where corrupt labeled politicians absquatulate to it, then those charges on them are being dropped unquestionably.
The stain of corruption did not spare anti-graft agencies that are saddled with the responsibilities of antagonizing corruption, as the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, Ibrahim Lamurde was accused of fraudulently diverting one trillion naira recovered from corrupt convicts by the commission (Adeyemi, 2016). Recently, the embattled Acting Chairman of the commission, Ibrahim Magu was also accused of corruption, diversion of recovered loots, insubordination and abuse of office which led to his unexpected suspension as the Acting Chairman of the commission. This is unimaginable as those appointed to fight corruption in the country are also found to be guilty of the same problem they are suppose to be fighting for.
Laconically, corrupt related malfeasance varies from one country to another, in most developing countries; the cases of corruption are usually common. Some causes of corruption includes GREED which has led to major crisis in almost all developing countries and in Nigeria in particular; Leaders that garnered too much wealth still quest to remain on power because their money ego is insatiable.
Secondly, UNEMPLOYMENT; Youth that are the strength of the nation are unemployed, the hike of idleness triggers many into internet fraud (cybercrime), sexual harassment by male managers in companies in order to reinstate female staff.
Thirdly, POVERTY; According to international standard, which states that a person is said to be poor when he or she lives under $1.25 (which is equivalent to N475) per day, poverty has pushed many into thuggery, cybercrime, and other heinous acts in order to better their lives.
In fact, corruption is a multidimensional process, it benefits the giver of the bribe, the receiver and both are aware of the consequences while others are doing it unknowingly.
Some countries have recorded great success in dealing with corruption, such that anyone caught the repercussion is to be liquidated or life imprisonment.
There are several ways to curb corruption and they includes; Reinforcement of moral compass in which government should help parents in by rewarding honest citizens whether adults or teenagers, also by declaring free education, free healthcare, taking under age persons that are found guilty to rehabilitation homes, etc.
Similarly, leaders can help in fighting corruption by serving as good example to citizens; this can be achieved by judiciously applying stipulated punishment to anyone irrespective of whoever he or she is. Thirdly, making anti-graft agencies or commissions independent from government control, by giving them the wherewithal to charge all whether in ruling or opposition parties.
Lastly, citizens should be allowed to have access to information concerning country’s finance, this will help in enhancing accountability.
In conclusion, if these steps are sternly taken and applied the preponderant cases of corruption would be eradicated and lastly become history.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, yesterday, in a swift response to planned ‘Nationwide Protest’, said:
“The reported plan by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to embark on a nationwide protest over the alleged President Buhari’s “inaction over the high-level of corruption uncovered at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)” is ill advised and totally uncalled for, considering that there are ongoing investigations in the cases by both the Executive and Legislative arms of government.
These processes must be allowed to run their full courses.
It is against the norm in a democratic society as well as the natural laws of justice to seek “action,” meaning punishment against offenders before proper investigation, trial and conviction.
The President has made it clear that the allegations that have surfaced clearly “constitute a breach of trust” and as the investigations take hold and close out, all those found wanting will face the wrath of the law.”
Malam Garba further states that:
“The TUC, as an enlightened group of labour Unionists, should indeed voice their indignation whenever such acts are being unearthed.
However the expectation will be for it to also raise the bar higher, in terms of the debate concerning the impact of such allegations on our ability, to create and retain employment, attract investment, improve the living conditions of its members and citizens, and how a preponderance of these heinous crimes decimates any gains being made in other spheres.
The world is confronted with a global public health crisis, decline in economic growth, and expanding areas of conflict by non-state actors.”
“All these ills in their singular or combined form are consuming every nation. Nigeria is no exception; we must hold the line and lock arms that way we rid ourselves of these existential issues whilst we grapple with those that are our own homegrown problems.
This administration is committed to doing just that, and organizations like the TUC should be extending a hand in supporting such a fight that is in our collective interest.” He concluded.
The suspended Acting Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu accuses the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) of frustrating the extradition of Diezani Allison-Madueke and other suspects.
The embattled acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has responded to allegations that he frustrated the extradition of a former minister of petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke and other fugitives to face trial in Nigeria.
Rejecting the allegation, Mr Magu told the presidential probe panel investigating allegations of corruption against him, that it was his accuser, Abubakar Malami, who was actually frustrating the extradition of the fugitives.
In the report, originally published by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) and republished by several newspapers, Mr Magu was accused of refusing to cooperate with crime-fighting authorities in the United Kingdom to facilitate the return of Mrs Alison-Madueke to to the country to face corruption charges.
The report also claimed that Mr. Magu has refused to provide documentary evidence that would make the office of the Attorney General of the Federation commence the process of extraditing Mrs Alison-Madueke.
However, Mr Magu’s response to the presidential probe panel, shows that he denied refusing to share information with the National Crime Agency (NCA) of the United Kingdom. As he said: “The NCA still shares critical information with the Commission and conducts joint operations with the Commission under the Combined Inter-Agency Task Force (CIATF) and also directly. Classified documents in this regard can be produced for sighting on request and with the consent of the NCA.
The Commission is also jointly working with the NCA on several cases including the Diezani Allison-Madueke cases and all the Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) requests on these cases are passed to the NCA and the Crown Prosecution Services through the Central Authority Unit (CAD) of the Ministry of Justice contrary to the allegations of the HAGF,” Mr Magu wrote.
He added that following the delay by UK authorities to charge Mrs Alison-Madueke, the EFCC wrote to the authorities in the country through the AGF requesting the extradition of the former petroleum minister so she can face pending charges in Nigeria.
Magu also added that Mr Malami has yet to communicate with the commission about the position of UK authorities on the request it made.
Contrary to the claim made against him by Mr Malami, the EFCC former Acting Chairman told the probe panel that under his leadership, “the EFCC maintained a good working relationship with the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation which recently acknowledged this relationship by commending the Commission publicly and on record.”
He added that apart from the request for the extradition of Mrs Alison-Madueke, the EFCC has made several requests through the AGF for the extradition of high profile Nigerian fugitives and that Mr Malami has yet to respond to any of the requests. “Some of these fugitives include Robert John Oshodin who laundered millions of United States Dollars on behalf of former National Security Adviser (NSA) Colonel Sambo Dasuki (Rtd), former Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Amnesty Programme Mr Kingsley Kuku and Hima Aboubakar who was criminally indicted by the investigation of arms procurement conducted under the former NSA Colonel Sambo Dasuki (Rtd).
Attached and marked as Annexure 32 (a)-(e) are copies of the extradition requests of these fugitives. “The Commission also forwarded a Mutual Legal Assistance request to the AGF for onward transmission to the authorities of the British Virgin Island through a letter dated 9th September, 2019 wherein the Commission requested for critical information in respect of the P&ID case but the Commission is yet to receive any response from the office of the AGF,” Mr Magu wrote.
Mr Malami did not respond to calls made to him Tuesday morning seeking his comments for this story. Last week, Mr. Malami announced Mr. Magu’s suspension following President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval. Prior to his suspension he was arrested and brought before the probe panel headed by Justice Ayo Salami, a former President of the Court of Appeal.
Mr Magu is currently being investigated over allegations of corruption and insubordination levelled against him by Mr Malami.
After his arrest, allegations that Mr Magu diverted billions of naira gotten from recovered funds, as well as the interests accrued from the funds, were circulated and published on various media platforms. He rejected the charges saying all recovered assets are intact and can be accounted for.
Mr. President directs for speedy investigation of the NDDC according to a statement released by the Senior Special Assistant to the President On Media & Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu.
The statement reads:
“President Muhammadu Buhari has given directives for better coordination among security and investigating agencies with the National Assembly to ensure that the administration’s effort to bring sanity, transparency and accountability to the management of the large amount of resources dedicated to development of the Niger Delta sub-region is not derailed.
In his reaction to the unfolding drama, which include attacks and counter attacks between and around persons, institutions, and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), President Buhari expressed his strong determination to get to the root of the problem undermining the development of the Niger Delta and its peoples in spite of enormous national resources voted year after year for this singular purpose.”
The Presidential spokesman further said:
“According to the directive, auditing firms and investigative agencies working in collaboration with National Assembly Committees to resolve the challenges in the NDDC must initiate actions in a time-bound manner and duly inform the Presidency of the actions being taken.
The President also directed timely sharing of information and knowledge in a way to speedily assist the administration to diagnose what had gone wrong in the past and what needs to be done to make corrections in order to return the NDDC to its original mandate of making life better for people in Niger Delta.”
“President Buhari said the administration wants to bring about “rapid, even and sustainable development to the region.”
The President gave firm assurance that his administration would put in place a transparent and accountable governance framework, not only in the NDDC but in all other institutions of government.”He concluded.
It is annoying to hear of these huge monetary figures stolen and squandered by the regional leaders with their boyfriends, girlfriends, associates and contractors!
They will always blame others for the region’s woes and backwardness!
These self-styled leaders sponsored many protests, militancy, all for their own pockets and not for the region! If they did all those for the region, we all would have felt or seen the impact.
They will always shout marginalization, nepotism, witch-haunting, oppression from others; whereas they are the devils incarnate in the region.
It is reported that over $40BN has been given to NDDC for the region’s development since year 2000 yet, the region gloom in outer darkness of development! Nothing, absolutely nothing to see as evidence of any infrastructural or human development!
These are the same people crying for ‘regional resource control and restructuring’; these are their mindsets – satanic agendas!
13% oil derivations, Niger Delta ministry is another department where these illicit hawks from the Niger Delta region, perch monthly stealing huge $BN.
These financial blessings to the region is more than enough to turn this region into paradise; every child to get scholarship, every one to get various assistance for businesses’ progress, every life to get a viable meanings but few, very few individuals took all these monies away and made the region and the people more poorer!
What is your joy being a leader while your people are living in abject poverty & all infrastructures in darkness of good things?
All the leaders of the Niger Delta region conspired and stole all these monies.
All the regional leaders, including religious leadership, traditional leaders that were very vocal have now become mute because their satanic evils is being bursted!
They and their entire families will suffer the consequences!
It shall not be well with them all; they shall all suffer in hell fire!
1) Covid-19 – N31.4 Billion 2) Oversea Travel – N85.6 Million 3) Maintenance – N220 Million 4) Legal services – N900 Million 5) Lassa fever – N1.956 Billion 6) Community Relations – N1.3 Billion 7) Impress – N790.9 Million 8) Condolences – N122.9 Million 9) Consultancy – N83 Million 10) DTA – N486 Million.
President Muhammadu Buhari (Retd.), has ordered the suspension of 12 directors of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Also affected was the Commission Secretary, Olanipekun Olukoyede.
The order, our correspondent gathered, was handed down on Friday following a request by the Presidential Panel investigating the allegations of graft and misconduct against the former EFCC acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu.
Daily Watch Press learnt that the directors were directed by the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) to proceed on suspension on Tuesday, in compliance with the presidential directives or order.
A source said, “The panel actually requested the suspension of all the directors of the EFCC to go to enable the panel members to carry out a thorough investigation into the activities of the commission.
“Following the request, the President asked the AGF to direct the directors and other senior officials to proceed on suspension immediately. The officials were informed on Tuesday.”