A group of anti-corruption campaigners has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to immediately launch a thorough investigation into allegations that its suspended acting chairman, Ibrahim Magu, connived with a former senator, Buruji Kashamu, to sabotage other lottery businesses that are in competition with Kashamu’s Western Lotto.
The Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution (CDNDC) in a statement yesterday tasked the EFCC to uncover how a controversial politician and businessman like Kashamu, became an associate of its former acting head. CDNDC said the ongoing probe of Magu’s leadership at the EFCC should not be concluded without a strident scrutiny of his relationship with Kashamu.
“It is unfortunate that Magu, as a supposed anti-corruption chief, would be in bed with a tainted character like Kashamu,” Ariyo-Dare Atoye, the convener of CDNDC, said in a statement. “We want the presidential panel that is looking into Magu’s allegations to also find out what happened between him and Kashamu.”
Atoye said his group had recently caught wind of an ongoing scheme by EFCC agents to move against other lottery businesses with the hope of extracting huge financial commitment from them, saying such action should be ceased to ward off its dangerous implication on the country’s economy. “Those behind the attempt to intimidate other lottery businesses on trumped up allegations of unremitted taxes are Magu’s lackies that remained with the EFCC,” he added. “They should all be fished out, investigated and prosecuted to serve as a deterrence to other rogue law enforcement agents.” But Kashamu’s spokesperson, Austin Oniyokor, strongly denied allegations of connivance between his principal and the suspended EFCC chairman, saying it was baseless and spurious. “The people behind this allegation are being used and sponsored by other lotto operators in the country. They are trying to destroy Kashamu’s name because he exposed them on how they have been defrauding the Federal Government, and the National Lottery Commission of billons of naira over the years. They are now paying back the money to the coffers of the government, and obviously they are not happy about it, and that’s why they are now trying to use the NGO to smear Senator Kashamu’s name, and image. I believe there are other several issues relating to governance that these people behind the allegations should concern themselves with instead of allowing themselves to be used by some criminal elements who are shortchanging the Federal Government”, he stated.