By Francis Etuko, Abuja.
The Senate has again rejected the nomination of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu following the the disclosure of fresh information from the security report of the Department of State Services (DSS).
The report, which part was read on the floor by Senator Dino Melaye, revealed that the EFCC boss has failed an ‘‘Integrity Test’’.
Dino Melaye’s comment threw the Senate chambers into a state of frenzy on Wednesday afternoon after what appeared earlier like an interactive session as Magu told the Senate his experiences in attempting to effectively rid the country of all acts of corruption.
Senator Dino Melaye who read paragraph 14 of the DSS report stated that the much applauded anti-graft chief, according to the report “will constitute a nuisance to the anti-corruption drive of the present administration if confirmed chairman’’
Senator Melaye’s comments put the final nail on Magu as it was followed by more strident line of questioning by Senator Barnabas Gemade who asked the embattled EFCC boss to explain his relationship with Retired Air commodore Umar Mohammed who was alleged to have bought a house for the EFCC Boss despite having an alleged dubious record. Melaye had earlier raised questions about a certain case presently in a Police station in Abuja, where EFCC operatives raided a private residence and took away Certificates of Occupancy (Cs of O) which were later put on sale at the open market.
Umar Muhammed was a member of the Presidential Committee on Arms Purchase, PANA who security report had revealed bought the House the EFCC Chairman lived in after he moved out to the City centre from Karu, a satellite town in Abuja.
This question from Gemade appeared to have infuriated Ibrahim Magu who in turn called to question the integrity of the Security Service reports. He produced two reports from the DSS on him over one question raised about his credibility.
Waving the said reports Magu said ‘‘There are two reports from the DSS on the same matter with the same date, that shows you the credibility of such an institution’’.
‘‘I have people I hold in high regards in this chamber, I have elder brothers in this Chamber. Elder Gemade what does it mean to have two varying reports submitted on the same matter on the same date?’’.
‘‘Melaye is here, we were together, until he came here and abandoned us. On the cases of stolen C of O, it is not everything happening in the EFCC that I have knowledge of, believe me they know me I will personally deal with that person if it comes to my notice’’.
Responding to questions raised about his relationship with Retired Air Commodore Umar Muhammed, Magu said ‘‘I don’t know Retired Commodore Umar from Adam, until we were appointed as members of PANA’’
‘’The house I am living actually belongs to late Dr Dora Akunyili, the son who was residing in the house needed money to return to America so he put up the house for rent, the House is called a ‘‘Safe House’’.
‘‘I was very comfortable in Karu, until there was too much pressure on me to relocate or they will deal with me’’
Speaking on the right to fair hearing, Magu told the Senate that he has repeatedly been denied the right to fair hearing, stressing that several times the DSS has raised some allegations against him yet he has not been given an opportunity to defend himself.
Worried by the developments, the Senate Deputy Minority Whip, Senator Biodun Olujimi stated that after listening to the lamentations of Ibrahim Magu, it was clear that there was inter-agency squabbles in the security architecture of the country, adding that with the report against the anti-corruption tsar, it would be difficult for the EFCC to have Nigerians take it serious should it in future prosecute any Nigerian.
Before Senator Dino Melaye delivered the last blow that upturned the confirmation of the Acting EFCC Boss, Magu had told the Senate that corruption was responsible for 90% of the current recession biting hard on the country.
He said ‘‘ Corruption is responsible for more than 90% of the recession in the country, most public wealth are stolen, that’s why things are difficult’’
‘‘We are not claiming monopoly for fighting corruption, the National Assembly is also fighting corruption, it is about reviewing what happened in the past and using it to protect the future’’
Responding to questions about the involvement of the former Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke in most of the corruption cases mentioned in the EFCC, Magu stated: ‘‘ Diezani went with all the Directors, they are now with her in London, the matter is still under investigation. A clique perpetrated these things and they are all on the run in London, we are currently tracking their assets’’
Magu also admitted that the EFCC has ‘‘internal corruption’’ adding ‘we are doing a lot of things, once we arrested an EFCC official where there was a complaint against him, when we went to his car we discovered a DSP Uniform and a gun’’.
‘‘We have discovered that people in our accounts department pay money to their family members’