Suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has raised the alarm that suspects and other criminal elements he prosecuted were after him.
Magu made the claim in a response addressed to the Presidential Committee On Audit Of Recovered Assets (PCARA) investigating the mismanagement and lack of transparency in managing recovered assets by the EFCC between 2015-2020.
He said while in office, his actions were geared towards fighting corruption to a standstill in the country, but lamented that his traducers were out to tarnish his reputation by publishing false information about him on social media platforms.
Details of a petition submitted to the investigative panel by Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, claimed that the lack of proper record keeping and discrepancies in the recovery figures, was a dent on the anti-corruption drive as well as raising integrity issues that can lead to loss of public confidence.
“For instance, EFCC stated 836 as the number of recovered real estate in the original returns it made to Mr. President on 07/04/2017. However, in its 1st returns to PCARA on 13/12/2017, EFCC gave the figure of 339, while in the 2nd returns to PCARA on 09/03/2018, it stated the recoveries to be 504. The 1st and 2nd returns total 843,” part of the petition written by Malami read.
Magu in his response to the panel, said: “In the exercise of my official functions as acting chairman of the Commission, I have stepped on toes in ensuring that corruption is fought to a standstill in Nigeria.
“Some of the suspects under investigation and prosecution are always ganging up to fight me back, publishing false, untrue, malicious and libellous allegations against me. I have never abused the office I am occupying at the pleasure of Mr. President.
“I have never personally enriched myself whilst performing my official function. I challenge my accusers to produce any evidence of this purported personal enrichment,” Magu said.
Arguing further, he claimed that under his watch, there were no cases of mismanagement of recovered assets or funds.
“No assets were sold and the proceeds thereof converted. There has been no mismanagement of or lack of transparency in the management of recovered assets under my leadership of the Commission. There has been no diversion of proceeds from recovered assets or personal enrichment on my part. A careful investigation into what has been recovered and what has been paid into the appropriate accounts will easily confirm this.
“I unequivocally deny these allegations as same are untrue and merely calculated to tarnish my name, that of the Commission, and the giant strides this administration has recorded in the fight against corruption and recovery of the proceeds of corruption. Not a dime of the recovered funds were converted to my personal use. I challenge my accusers to produce evidence of such fraudulent conversion. All my actions are documented and follow the prescribed procedures with necessary approvals. I am innocent. I have served my country to the best of my abilities with all sense of responsibility and integrity.
“The records of achievements to the glory of God and this administration are there for all to see. I respectfully invite the panel to note the stellar and unprecedented achievements of the EFCC under my watch as the acting Chairman,” he said.
Meanwhile, the ongoing probe has entered a critical stage, with senior lawyers familiar with Magu’s handling of EFCC dealings, testifying against the embattled anti-corruption czar.
“The panel has invited people having issues with Magu. They include a former Executive Director with a first generation bank and two Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) familiar with the development,” a source told Daily Sun.
“The panel also invited an EFCC official who is under investigation over a huge amount in his account and for traveling to Lebanon to meet a suspect under an ongoing investigation. These four individuals were invited by the panel and they testified against Magu. The EFCC operative under investigation also testified against Magu. More people are expected to come after the Sallah break,” the source said.