…Buhari won’t fail on anti-graft war, says Presidency
President Muhammadu Buhari has suspended 11 senior officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as the probe of the shenanigans under the stewardship of disgraced Ibrahim Magu deepened.
It was learnt on Tuesday that EFCC executive Secretary Olanipekun Olukoyede was among the senior officials suspended.
According to a presidential source, ‘they were suspended for various alleged criminal and corrupt infractions”.
The suspension of the officials was also to allow for unfettered investigation of the commission.
“All the top officials in the agency have been suspended, their offices locked, to prevent any tampering with files at the commission”, the source added.
President Buhari suspended Ibrahim Magu, the former acting chairman of the agency last week and appointed the director of operations, Mohammed Umar Abba, to hold forte.
The source said Umar Abba survived the temporary purge, as he was found not to be a part of the suspected underhand dealings in the agency.
Olukoyede became the Secretary to the EFCC in November 2018 following confirmation by the Senate.
The Ikere-Ekiti born senior lawyer was a former chief of staff to Magu. He replaced Emmanuel Aremo, whose five-year tenure expired in July 2018.
The former acting chairman of the agency is facing for the second week, grilling by the presidential panel headed by Justice Ayo Salami, over financial allegations and improprieties, including money laundering.
He is facing tough questioning over allegations that he re-looted funds recovered by the commission. And that he accepted bribes to pervert cases of graft.
He is also accused of mismanagement of recovered assets by the EFCC.
Among the issues Magu is helping the panel to resolve are wide discrepancies in figures of recovered monies published by the agency.
The panel has also asked him to react to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit(NFIU) report accusing him of siphoning money from the EFCC.
NFIU report showed that a particular Bureau de Change, owned by Ahmed Ibrahim Shanono linked to the Acting Chairman based in Kaduna has more than 158 accounts and has been receiving huge sums of funds.
The report also accused Magu of laundering money through Pastor Emmanuel Omale of Hand of God Prophetic Ministry.
Omale was alleged to have bought a landed property on behalf of Magu worth N573 million in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
“Another individual who is helping in laundering funds for the Acting Chairman and who has been referred to in several petitions is one Pastor Emmanuel Omale (Hand of God Prophetic Ministry).
“He is reported to have travelled to Dubai with Mr. Magu and his name was used in purchasing property in Dubai for Mr Magu.
“As an unknown pastor, the NFIU’s report showed huge movement of funds ranging from N573,228,040.41,’’ the report said.
Omale has denied laundering money for Magu.
Magu has also been accused of allegedly failing to give proper account of missing 332 out of the 836 recovered real estate property as of March, 2018.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has assured all Nigerians that he would not be distracted by baseless criticisms by the opposition in his war against corruption in the country.
According to Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the volume and reach of the anti-corruption crusade so far reflects what the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) left behind.
Shehu stated this while fielding questions from State House correspondents on issues raised by the opposition party since the beginning of the interrogation of suspended acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu.
Shehu said corruption became so normalized by the PDP that they had difficulty defining what is “corruption” and “theft”.
The presidential spokesman praised President Buhari who doubles as African Union (AU) Anti-Corruption Champion in Africa for his determination to end corruption in the country as responsible for the number of highly publicized charges and cases.
“The large number of cases, new and old, may appear to be daunting but PDP, which is now heckling the President, has forgotten that the party bequeathed this to the current administration. They had large number of cases they did not investigate and prosecute,” he said.
Shehu also cautioned the PDP to allow the process of investigation and prosecution to work instead of being pre-emptive about ongoing cases and unduly agitating the public.
He expressed hope that the Judiciary would deal with the cases swiftly and satisfactorily, in a manner that would deter other would-be offenders.
“The current administration is handling many of the cases that the PDP should have dealt with and the new ones as they arise,” he said. – The News, Agency report.