June 10, 2023

Ibrahim Magu, suspend­ed acting chairman of the Economic and Finan­cial Crimes Commission (EFCC), risks demotion from his rank of Commissioner of Police to either Deputy Com­missioner of Police (DCP) or Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) if found guilty of the allegations leveled against him, Daily Independent has gathered.

Magu, who was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 to lead his ad­ministration’s anti-corrup­tion efforts, was promoted to the rank of a full commission­er from deputy commissioner in April 2018 by the Police Ser­vice Commission (PSC).

Following a memo to Presi­dent Muhammadu Buhari by Abubakar Malami, the Attor­ney-General and Minister of Justice, Magu was arrested on July 6 by security operatives at the Abuja zonal office of the commission on his way to a meeting and taken before the Justice Ayo Salami-led pres­idential investigative panel.

The panel, sitting at the old Banquet Hall in Aso Villa, Abuja was set up by Buhari to investigate alleged misman­agement of recovered assets by the EFCC between May 2015 and May 2020 under Ma­gu’s stewardship.

After 10 days in custody at Area 10, Force Criminal Inves­tigation Department (FCID), Magu, who has since been re­placed by Mohammed Umar, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), was released on bail last week.

Speaking with Daily Inde­pendent on Sunday, a top se­curity source, who has been following the development, said there is no way Magu can be exonerated from the allegations against him and the likelihood of his return­ing to his position as EFCC chairman is “very remote”.

According to him, Magu’s chances of being exonerated is very unlikely “since the allegations against him is coming from the supervis­ing minister in charge of the agency he heads, that is the Attorney-General and Min­ister of Justice, Abubakar Malami. It is a different thing if the petition came from the opposition parties or civil so­ciety organisations.

“No public official can es­cape a hostile investigation such as the one he is being subjected to. He may have committed some infractions no doubt. But those behind the probe are also not clean”, he said.

When asked if the trial has any political undertone, our source replied in the affirma­tive, saying some people in the establishment are unhappy over Magu’s refusal to inves­tigate the petitions written against Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former governor of Lagos and National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Our source also said be­yond what was stated the trial also has to do with the battle for the 2023 presidential elec­tion.

“It has everything to do with 2023. They see him as Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s man. Some persons within the sys­tem wants EFCC to go after him which Magu has failed to do”, he said.

Daily Independent in its July 10, 2020 edition titled ‘How Petitions On Tinubu’s Bullion Vans Landed Magu In Trouble’ had already reported that “beyond what was public­ly stated in Malami’s memo to the president, one major issue against Magu is his perceived selective investigation and re­fusal to investigate the bullion vans allegations even though President Buhari, who has made the war against corrup­tion one of the three cardinal agenda of his administration, had given him “unfettered access to go all out and probe anyone irrespective of his sta­tus in the society”.

When asked if Magu can return to his position, our source said with a tone of fi­nality, “He can never return. He is gone for good, In fact he may be recommended for de­motion to the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police or Assistant Commissioner of Police”.

Our source also said aside the memo from Malami, Magu had been having is­sues with the Police Service Commission, the body sad­dled with the responsibility of dismissing and exercising disciplinary control over po­lice officers in the country, except the IGP.

He said, “The DSS report of 2016 that allegedly indict­ed Magu said in December 2010, the Police Service Com­mission (PSC) found Magu guilty of action prejudicial to state security – withholding of EFCC files, sabotage, un­authorised removal of EFCC files and acts unbecoming of a police officer, and awarded him severe reprimand as pun­ishment”.

Daily Independent recalled that Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, pi­oneer chairman of the EFCC was also demoted from the rank of Assistant Inspec­tor-General of Police (AIG) to Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) in August 2008.

Also speaking with Daily Independent, Junaid Moham­med, elder statesman and Sec­ond Republic federal lawmaker, said even if Magu is exonerat­ed, the damage to his integrity has been done already.

He also said if Magu is returned to his post which is very unlikely, there is no way he can function effectively without his top directors who have been suspended by Pres­ident Buhari.

“Even if Magu is exoner­ated by the so-called presi­dential panel and returned, the damage has been done. I can’t see him coming back to pretend that nothing has hap­pened. I can’t see him coming back alone without his direc­tors, about 20 of them who have all been suspended.

“I don’t see him doing a great job if he alone is al­lowed to come back while his major directors are stripped of their responsibilities. That is not possible because a tree cannot make a forest.

“If in fact, under the cur­rent government and At­torney General, it has now become a crime to be loyal to the person who appointed you, then how do you expect the new directors to be loyal to Magu when they know he did not appoint them and cannot remove them? So, who is fool­ing who?” Mohammed said.

Mohammed, who also be­rated Malami for interfering in Magu’s job and demanding loyalty from him, also said the anti-corruption war which is one of the three cardinal programmes of the Buhari administration is dead.

“The anti-corruption war is over. Maybe another gov­ernment or administration may attempt to resuscitate the war but at the moment, it is as good as dead,” he said

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