Adetutu Folasade-Koyi, Abuja
Forces against acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, have intensified efforts to ease him out before the end of the year.
Sponsors and leaders of the plot have allegedly recruited some civil society organisations (CSOs) to begin series of protests against his continued stay in office on the premise that his four-year tenure ended on November 9.
Meetings to that effect have reportedly held in choice hotels in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and Lagos. To kickstart the game plan, the selected CSO’s are expected to address series of press conferences where certain allegations against EFCC, under Magu, would be unveiled. Also to come are sponsored rallies against the Commission in Abuja and Lagos with the intent to attack Magu’s integrity.
Already, they have sponsored petitions before the House of Representatives, with certain allegations against the EFCC.
A source privy to the plot also added that “they are also claiming that Magu has served the statutory four years as EFCC boss (as stipulated in the EFCC Act), and that President Muhammadu Buhari ought to have forwarded a replacement to the Senate for confirmation. They are also relying on Sections 2 (3) and 3 (1) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004, to buttress their arguments.”
Section 2 (3) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act (2004)states that: “The chairman and members of the Commission, other than ex-officio members shall be appointed by the president and appointment shall be subject to the confirmation of the Senate while section 3 (1) states that “the chairman and members of the Commission, other than ex-officio members shall hold office for a period of four years and may be re-appointed for a further term of four years and no more.”
Regardless, a sponsor of the project has been identified as a high profile defendant in a money laundering and corruption matter in the oil and gas sector.
“The well-heeled player in the oil sector, who has close relationship with a former oil minister, has mobilised huge funds to fund this campaign of character assassination and misinformation against Magu,” said another source.
Another set of opposition against his continued stay in office “have even gone ahead to recommend a serving Commissioner of Police, also from the North, as his replacement.”
The Presidential Villa, has, however, remained silent about Magu’s tenure. Till date, the president has not made public, his views on Magu’s status. Besides, the president is keeping his decision on Magu to his chest as none of those close to him in Aso Rock can actually speak authoritatively on the matter.
In March 2017, Senate rejected Magu’s nomination after the Department of State Security (DSS) reaffirmed its position that he lacked the integrity to lead the anti-corruption agency.
“In the light of the foregoing, Magu has failed the integrity test and will eventually constitute a liability to the anti-corruption stand of the current government,” the DSS report indicated then.
At the confirmatory screening, which held in the Committee of the Whole of the eighth Senate, Magu questioned the credibility of the DSS which he said dispatched two reports on him with varying contents on the same day.
“What do you say about credibility of that agency?” he queried.
In December 2016, DSS had submitted two contradictory reports to the Senate – one approving Magu’s confirmation and the other asking that he be rejected. Senate opted to reject Magu’s confirmation based on a report critical of him.