Actually it is certainly not the best of times for the embattled Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC as powerful forces, within and outside of government over months, not disposed to his continued stay in office have intensified efforts to break down his defence lines.
One of such moves,Saturday Sun learnt, is an ongoing discreet investigation into the true ownership of two mansions on different streets in high brow Maitama area of Abuja. The buildings are allegedly linked to his wife. A highly placed source told Saturday Sun that the houses being investigated are located in Danube Street, Maitama and Missouri Street, off Colorado Close, Ministers Hill, also in Maitama. The two properties were said to have been bought last year.
Saturday Sun could not confirm the veracity of the claims being investigated. It was also not clear whether it was the Department of State Services, DSS that was carrying out the probe or a team of private investigators hired by forces opposed to Magu. It is however, an open secret that the DSS had launched series of clandestine investigations into Magu’s activities in a bid to provide the Senate, a security report on him.
The source who declined to provide further details about the probe was however, certain that the investigation may lead to Magu’s arrest, a claim that suggests an official footprint. “The fresh probe of Magu’s alleged hidden assets was largely responsible for the latest DSS letter to the Senate reaffirming its earlier indictment that the EFCC boss lacks integrity”, the source added. The EFCC boss has been having running battles with powerful forces opposed to his leadership of the foremost anti-graft agency, especially the DSS, which twice indicted him for failure to pass integrity test in two security reports. The Senate also had on two occasions rejected his nomination as the substantive Chairman of the Commission.
Magu however, has consistently maintained his innocence in the series of allegations against him, calling them cheap blackmail by those desperate to slow down the tempo of the nation’s anti-corruption war.
His denial of wrongdoing notwithstanding, the EFCC Chairman has another issue to contend with in the Senate. This has to do with the refusal of the Senate Committee on Foreign and Local Debts to approve a $200 million World Bank loan for the anti-graft agency and about six other MDAs under the Economic Reforms and Governance Project, ERGP. The Committee, headed by Senator Shehu Sanni, it was gathered, has since the approval of the loan last year by the Federal Government, been tossing officials of the Commission up and down. The development, it was also learnt, may further hamper the work of the agency, which relies more on such funds for trainings, ICT projects and similar expenditures that have direct bearing on the mandate of the Commission.
When contacted, Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC spokesman said he was not aware if any security agency was investigating Magu. “I don’t know what you are talking about. I don’t know the motive behind this question and I can’t say anything because I don’t know what you are talking about, please spare me because I don’t know,” he quipped.
A source in the EFCC however told Saturday Sun that any fresh allegation over ownership of property, against Magu is just a blackmail. The official said, “Magu has no hidden property anywhere, they are just going on a wild goose chase, which will fail just like the DSS had gone round but couldn’t bring out any concrete thing against the Chairman (Magu).”
Magu had in response to the query President Muhammadu Buhari ordered to be served him over allegations in the DSS report, queried the sincerity and motive of the Secret Service, which accused him of integrity deficiency and professional misconduct.
The DSS allegations blocked Magu’s confirmation as the substantive chairman of the EFCC, twice, as the agency repeatedly advised the Senate to reject his nomination because; “he has failed the integrity test and will eventually constitute a liability to the anti-corruption drive of the present administration.”
After the Senate’s first rejection of Magu’s nomination in December last year, citing allegations made against him by the DSS, the President authorised the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to investigate the validity of the allegations.
In compliance, Malami, on December 19, asked Magu to “respond within 48 hours” to the DSS allegations.
In his response, on December 21, Magu said he considered all the issues raised against him and provided “point-by-point responses.” Contrary to the claim by the SSS that the residence Magu currently occupies was rented for him by “a questionable business man” at N40 million for two years, with another N43 million to “lavishly furnish” the apartment, the acting EFCC boss said “the entire cost for the two-year rent and the furnishing was N39.628million.”
The SSS had claimed the house was provided by one Mohammed Umar, a retired air commodore, being tried for money laundering and illegal possession of firearms. Read more