The Nation Newspaper - Barely a few hours after the Senate’s rejection of the confirmation of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, as the substantive head of the agency, there were indications that Presidency is under pressure to re-present him.
It was however learnt that petty politics within the kitchen cabinet of the President partially accounted for Magu’s rejection.
Also, senators and some former ministers under investigation from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party( PDP) were uncomfortable with Magu, it was learnt.
Some former governors in the chamber who are under probe were said to have vowed to frustrate Magu’s confirmation.
But a security report from the Department of State Services (DSS) allegedly advised against clearance of Magu as EFCC chairman.
Some highly-placed Nigerians and international bodies have started making representations to the Presidency to re-present Magu
It was gathered that the concerned people and bodies felt Magu’s rejection was designed to “slow down” the pace of the anti-corruption war.
It was learnt that those described as “corrupt forces” had hatched a plan to “frustrate Magu out of EFCC.”
They were believed to be acting in cahoot with some members of the President’s kitchen cabinet to deal with Magu.
One of their plans was to use the Senate to reject Magu’s appointment as EFCC chairman, a source said.
Their Plan B, said the source is to influence President Muhammadu Buhari to make Magu to revert to EFCC Director of Operations (DOP).
According to a source, such a reversal of role may make Magu to request for a fresh posting in the police.
But some concerned Nigerians and international organisations have been mounting pressure on the Presidency not to allow corrupt elements to derail the anti-graft war.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “There is no doubt that there is pressure on the Presidency to re-present Magu to the Senate as EFCC chairman.
“The pressure is coming from concerned Nigerians and international organisations who believe that Magu is the defining point of President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption agenda.
“The people and organisations have also made representations to members of the Presidential Committee Against Corruption( PCAC).
“But a few powerful ones are dropping some names who they think Buhari should choose from to replace Magu.
“The ball is in Buhari’s court to either re-present Magu or leave him as the acting EFCC chairman for the next two years to take the anti-corruption war to the next level. The law allows Magu to act for as long as three years.”
Another source spoke of the petty politics within the President’s kitchen cabinet as accounting for Magu’s rejection.
“But the kitchen cabinet war between the first and second groups have been intense in the past few months and they have drawn the battle line. Magu is just a victim”.
“Curiously, all other security agencies, including the police, the highly-cerebral and respected National Intelligence Agency( NIA) cleared Magu, based on the rating of many countries.”
Sensing danger, the EFCC on June 21, through its spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, issued a statement.
The statement said in part: “The report, quoting anonymous sources, alleged that Muhammed, who is a member of the Arms Procurement Committee, is ‘fronting for some members of the committee’, including ‘high ranking officials in the EFCC and ONSA’.
“Though the report falls short of naming the so-called officials that Mohammed is allegedly fronting for, it is common knowledge that the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, is the only member of the Arms Procurement Committee from the Commission.
“The EFCC views with grave concern this spirited attempt to create doubts in the minds of less discerning Nigerians and members of the international community regarding the integrity of its acting chairman. To all intent and purposes, this devious report is another avenue of corruption fighting back as some people have been uncomfortable with the uncompromising stance of the Acting EFCC Chairman in the fight against corruption.
“The EFCC wishes to categorically state that no official of the agency that is directly or remotely connected with the work of the Arms Procurement Committee has had any dealings that verge on fraud with Air Commodore Mohammed or any other member of the Committee. It challenges anybody with contrary information to come forward with the evidence.
“The EFCC as a body upholds zero tolerance for corruption and will not condone any act that amounts to corruption. If Mohammed is established to have engaged in any illegal activity, he should be held liable.
“In view of the gravity of the issues, the EFCC calls on the Presidency to set up a high-powered inquiry to verify the claims of the report and those who have made it their sole business to impugn the integrity of others and cast doubt on the credibility of the anti-corruption war.”