Hunter is Hunted, Presidential Panel Investigates Magu

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The hunter turned the hunted yesterday as security operatives intercepted the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, and took him to the Presidential Villa, Abuja for interrogation by a presidential panel investigating sundry allegations of wrongdoing against him.

Accounts of how Magu got to the seat of power yesterday differed. While one said he was flagged down by security agents as he drove out of his Wuse II Annex Office and shepherded to the Villa, another said he was invited to face the panel.

Anyway, Magu was still with the panel at the Old Banquet Hall of the State House at press time.

Magu’s grilling by the presidential panel prompted the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to ask the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to show the genuineness of its war against corruption by allowing unhindered investigation of the anti-corruption chief, while he steps aside.

The embattled EFCC boss was said to have arrived at the State House about 1:40 p.m., where he was ushered into the wing, accompanied by one of the EFCC’s lawyers, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs.

There were initial reports that Magu was arrested by the Department of State Security (DSS) but in a statement, the agency refuted the report.

‘’The Department of State Services (DSS) wishes to inform the public that it did not arrest Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), as has been reported by sections of the media.

“The service, has since, today, 6th July 2020, been inundated with enquiries over the alleged arrest,’’ the Public Relations Officer of DSS, Dr. Peter Afunaya, stated.

A similar statement by the EFCC’s spokesman, Mr. Dele Oyewale, said Magu was neither arrested nor forced to honour the invitation, adding that a member of a legal team from the EFCC was with him at the panel.

‘’Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), 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 panel is currently sitting at the presidential villa in Abuja,” EFCC stated.

Insiders told THISDAY that the presidential panel was investigating Magu over allegations levelled against him by Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami’s (SAN), which THISDAY exclusively published in a report in its June 19 edition of the newspaper.

Malami, in a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, had detailed alleged cases of malfeasance against Magu, and sought his sacking for alleged corruption and insubordination.

The AGF anchored his recommendation on several grounds “raging from diversion of recovered loot to insubordination and misconduct” by Magu; while including a shortlist of three candidates for consideration to replace the anti-corruption agency’s boss.

The Office of AGF has asked Magu to account for gaps or discrepancies of figures concerning recovered assets, claiming that Magu was not transparent enough in the management of the recovered assets.

But Magu’s supporters within the Presidency said: “Removing Magu at this time when he has given muscle to Buhari’s anti-corruption fight would be a mistake.

“It is painful that the EFCC boss is facing certain powerful forces who have decided to remove him in spite of his remarkable achievements,” a source had stated.

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