The Presidency on Saturday opened up on the reasons why the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu, was being investigated.
A presidential media aide, Garba Shehu, in an official statement issued on the suspension of Magu, said a series of documented allegations were made against him. All eyes on new EFCC helmsman, Mohammed Umar Buhari suspends EFCC chair, Magu Shehu said there were grounds for a detailed investigation to be conducted, following a preliminary review of the allegations leveled against the acting chairman and several other members of staff of the commission.
He said an investigative panel was therefore constituted in compliance with the extant laws governing the convening of such a body. He said: “As is the proper procedure, when allegations are made against the Chief Executive of an institution, and in this case an institution that ought to be seen as beyond reproach, the Chief Executive has to step down from his post and allow for a transparent and unhindered investigation.
“The EFCC does not revolve around the personality of an individual, and as such cannot be seen through the prism of any individual.
“Therefore, the suspension of Mr. Ibrahim Magu, allows the institution to continue carrying out its mandate without the cloud of investigation hanging over its head. “The EFCC has many good, hardworking men and women who are committed to its ideal and ensuring that the wealth of our country isn’t plundered and wherein there is an act of misappropriation such person(s) are brought to justice.”
Garba, who said Magu was being given an opportunity to defend himself, added that those insinuating that his probe signified the failure of the anti-corruption war had missed the point. “Mr. Magu is being availed the opportunity to defend himself and answer the allegations against him.
This is how it should be, as is the fact that under the Laws of Nigeria every citizen is presumed and remains innocent until proven guilty. “We must realize that the fight against corruption is not a static event, but a dynamic and ever evolving process, in which the EFCC is just one actor; and as we continue to work towards improving our democratic process so shall every institution of ours also embark on that journey of evolution.
“What is however important is that there must be accountability and transparency and our people must realize that they would be held to account. This is the building block in the fight against corruption, the establishment of the concept of Accountability and the recognition of the Rule of Law. “Those who see Mr. Magu’s investigation, as a signal that the fight against corruption is failing, have unfortunately, missed the boat.
“There is no better indication that the fight is real and active than the will to investigate allegations in an open and transparent manner against those who have been charged to be custodians of this very system. “Under this president and government, this is our mantra and guiding principle. There are no sacred cows, and for those who think they have a halo over their heads, their days are also numbered.
“Mr. Magu was not immune – and regardless of the obvious embarrassment that potential acts of wrongdoing by him, given the office he held, may appear for the government. “No other administration in the history of Nigeria would have moved to bring into the light and public domain such an allegation.”
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Friday approved the suspension of Magu as acting Chairman of the EFCC and appointed the agency’s Director of Operations, Mohammed Umar, to take charge and oversee the activities of the Commission pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation by Justice Salami-led panel.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) made the announcement on Friday. According to a statement by the media aide to the AGF, Dr Umar Gwandu, the approval is “in order to allow for unhindered inquiry by the Presidential Investigation Panel under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act and other relevant laws.” The statement also added that President Buhari approved that Umar should take charge and oversee the activities of the Commission pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation and further directives in that regards. President Buhari constituted the Justice Ayo Salami-led panel to probe various allegations leveled against Magu following petitions by Malami.