By Nehru Odeh
This is simply a curious case of the hunter becoming the hunted. Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, has been arrested by the Department of State Services over corruption allegations. .
The anti-corruption Czar, as reported by Sahara Reporters, is currently being detained for owning four properties and allegedly transferring funds abroad through a third party.
There have been no love lost between Magu and the DSS and is yet to be confirmed as the substantive chairman of the EFCC despite occupying the position in acting capacity for many years.
The DSS in a 2016 report claimed that Magu was living in a N40m mansion paid for by one Umar Mohammed, a retired air commodore who is allegedly involved in shady deals.
“In December 2010, the Police Service Commission (PSC) found Magu guilty of action prejudicial to state security – withholding of EFCC files, sabotage, unauthorised removal of EFCC files and acts unbecoming of a police officer, and awarded him severe reprimand as punishment.
The residence that Magu is currently occupying was 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.
“Magu has fostered a beneficial relationship with Mohammed who by his confession approaches clients for possible exploitation, favours and associated returns,” the DSS report said.
But Magu denied most of the claims in the report.
Nevertheless, the report was used to stop his confirmation as the substantive chairman of EFCC by the then Senate led by Bukola Saraki. Lately, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation,
Abubakar Malami had also some weeks ago written to President Muhammadu Buhari accusing the acting EFCC Chairman of engaging in various acts of corruption.
Malami, according to reports had asked the President to remove Magu from office in the letter in which he also suggested possible replacements for him as the head of EFCC.
Also, EFCC reacted in another statement that Magu was only facing an investigative panel and is not being detained by the DSS
The Commission’s spokesman, Dele Oyewale, wrote: “Mr. Ibrahim Magu on Monday, July 6, 2020, honoured an invitation by a Presidential Panel reviewing the activities of the EFCC, at the Banquet Hall wing of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“He was served the invitation to the panel while on his way to the Force Headquarters, Abuja for a meeting. The EFCC’s boss was neither arrested nor forced to honour the invitation. A member of a legal team from the EFCC is also with him on the panel.”