Magu’s 3 years out of EFCC’s 15. Report card
*Magu’s EFCC stewardship reviewed
*Great achievements, minor backlashes but mounting hope
Acting EFCC boss, Magu
Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has clocked three years in office just as the organisation had clicked the 15th date of birth. From the Babatunde Idiagbon House to a new edifice, more convictions, touching the ‘above the law’ and making the Senate prostrate to humps of serious concerns, some bordering on abuse of rights, what is the worth of the Acting Executive Chairman in the fight against the popular monster, corruption?
To see him clearly, I have chosen to return to what he told the House of Representatives about the facts that the commission recovered about N511.9 billion in 2017. He listed the monies recovered to include N473.065 billion, $89,258,124.97, £294,851.82, €7,247,363.75, 443,400 dirhams and 70,500.00 South African rand.
Ikoyigate scandal: More than $43million discovered in an apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos state and the N449 million discovered at a plaza in Victoria Island, also in Lagos.
This includes “the N32 billion and $5 million which was forfeited to the Federal Government by a former minister of petroleum resources”.
The EFCC chairman added the N329 billion from petroleum marketers in Kano, €6.6 million on behalf of the Nigerian Ports Authority as well as another N1.1 billion by Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).
Also recovered were the N27.7 billion being withheld in tax by banks, the more than N4 billion recovered as subsidy fraud funds among others.
The Olympian passion of Ibrahim Magu: During the opening of the new EFCC headquarters in Abuja, Magu told Editors “we will continue to fight corruption, whether anybody likes it or not. We are convinced that it is the only way we can bring succor to this country. Nobody who is found to be prima facie guilty will escape prosecution.”
Watching him talk about the fight against corruption, yoou will see the kind of passionate words of resolution and determination that only in the eyes of Olympic athletes will you find same.
On the 10th April 2018 makes it 15 years the EFCC had started championing the course of fighting corruption in Nigeria.
To Ibrahim Magu, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, “we are succeeding. It is pertinent for us to forget about personal interests. We all have a role to play in the fight against corruption. W must at all times consider the overall interest of this country.”
At the parley with media executives in Abuja, the EFCC boss, apprised the Nigerian public of what was generally adjudged a worthy and commendable score sheet. The session provided media editors from the print, online and broadcast media platforms, an opportunity to engage with the agency freely. Fairly, he answered all questions thrown at him with verve and vim.
2017 record of achievements: “Between January and 20th August, 2017, the EFCC recovered N409,270,706,686.75; $69,501,156.67; £231,118.69; €610,816.20; Dirham 443,400.00 and 70,500.00 Saudi Riyal,” Magu revealed to a startled media audience.
He further informed that: “In July, the Commission recovered over N329 billion from a group of oil marketers for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.”
Convictions: Magu said, in 2015 we had 103 convictions, 195 convictions were achieved in 2016, we had 189 in 2017 and so far in 2018, we have achieved 158 and still counting. On recovery of stolen assets, Magu revealed the mind boggling values for January to August 2018 to be N106bn, $1.6m, GBP629,193.65 and EURO25,575.00
The agency beamed its searchlight on hitherto no-go areas like the prosecution of alleged culprits of the Malabu oil scandal, involving about $1.1 billion, with charges filed against Mohammed Adoke (SAN), a former Minister of Justice, and Dan Etete, a former Minister of Petroleum, the prosecution of actors and players in the now infamous $2.1 billion arms deal scandal has continued unhindered.
Several witnesses have testified in court against a former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (retd); a former Chief of Air Staff, Umar Dikko; a former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin (retd); former Chief of Air Staff, Adesola Amosu; Air Vice Marshal Alkali Mawu (retd); and Col. Nicholas Ashinze, with investigation of several other top military officers fingered in the arms deal scandal still ongoing.
Governors facing prosecution: Indeed, progress is also being made in cases involving former governors and serving senators, who are alleged to have defrauded their states, including Joshua Dariye (convicted), Danjuma Goje, Sule Lamido, Murtala Nyako and his son Abdul-Aziz, Orji Uzor Kalu, Rasheed Ladoja, Ibrahim Shema, Ahmadu Fintiri, Gabriel Suswam, and Jolly Nyame (convicted).
Troubled Senate: With the number of serving or retired Senators standing trial and investigations, it would have been expected that Ibrahim Magu would have needed ‘African jazz’ to pass through the scrutiny to be confirmed as the Executive Chairman of the EFCC.
The Nigeria Senate has twice rejected the confirmation of Magu as substantive chairman of the EFCC. Presidency had sustained his appointment on a permanent acting basis. However, he has strived to give leadership to one institution many Nigerians still have some great respect for.
For Magu, he told the editors in reaction to the Senators’ refusal to confirm him, “this is simply a propeller for us to do more. What drives me is the passion to do what is right by ensuring that we fight corruption to a standstill in this country. The non-confirmation only helps to strengthen my resolve to do more and ensure that we fight corruption to the end.”
Same way he battled the Senate, he had to contend with a sister security agency, the Directorate of State Service (DSS). That seems to have ended with the forced exit of the former Director General, Lawal Daura. One hurdle out there.
Judiciarygate scandal: One of the hallmarks of Ibrahim Magu’s years as head of the institution is the Judicarygate scandal. Members of the bench and bar, found wanting, were made to account for their misdeeds. The trial of a number of lawyers and judges has intensified and are at various stages across the country.
Some of the big names he brought to prosecution include Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, who is standing trial along with Godwin Obla (SAN), for bribery and corrupt enrichment; Justice Hyeladzira Nganjiwa, a serving Federal High Court judge; Justice James Agbadu-Fishim, a serving National Industrial Court judge; Rickey Tarfa (SAN) and Joseph Nwobike (SAN).
Taking anti-corruption nearer to the people: In three years, the “EFCC has expanded its operational reach in the country, with the aim of reaching out to the grassroots and to galvanize all segments of the society to own the anti-corruption crusade. From six offices in Abuja, Lagos, Enugu, Kano, Gombe, and Port Harcourt; four new offices have been added – Ibadan, Kaduna, Edo, and Akwa Ibom, with a rejuvenated Maiduguri office whose activity was crippled due to the insurgency.
There have also been various engagements with members of the Civil Society Organisations, Organised Labour, media chiefs and stakeholders in the public and private sphere, all geared towards rallying the Nigerian citizenry to join in the fight against corruption.
“The EFCC alone cannot win the war, no one has the monopoly of knowledge on how the battle can be fought and won. We must all come together and strike a common consensus on how to confront and defeat this monster called corruption,” Magu preached.
Abuse of rights within EFCC operations: Despite some operational excesses of its investigators and reports of abuses especially inside the operations of the EFCC, safely, to a large extent, the average citizen believes that the institution is more accountable to the public about its achievements. To Magu, “report such abuses and what we are not doing well directly to me and see if I will not take it up and give you a feedback as to what we have done about such complaints.
A remote case is of one Ademola Babatunde. Another is Abdulrasheed Maina’s PRTT. Don’t seek for Babachir David Lawal. The list of what were not done too well can be long. I will not list Ayodele Fayose’s case here. In all, as a former teacher, I will still give Ibrahim Magu a wonderful return of great scores. Of the 15 years of the institution, he stands out a more accountable leader. (Gong News)