MAGU DIDNT SUBMIT AUDIT ACCOUNT FOR FOUR YEARS UNLIKE ALL HIS PREDECESSORS, HOW WORKERS WORKES SABOTAGED HIM BY LEAKING INFORMATION

Annual report not submitted to N’Assembly in four years contrary to law
•Ribadu, Farida, Lamorde in full compliance
•SAN seeks bail for suspended anti-corruption chief

The suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, failed to submit the audited accounts of the anti-graft agency to the National Assembly as required by law, THISDAY learnt at the weekend as critics say he took advantage of the non-confirmation of his appointment by the Senate to avoid accountability leading to his current woes.

By Section 37 of the establishment act, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment, ETC) Act 2004, the commission is required to submit its report, including its audited account to the National Assembly every year.

It states: “The Commission shall, not later than 30th September in each year, submit to the National Assembly, a report of its activities during the immediately preceding year and shall include in such report the audited accounts of the Commission.”

Despite the refusal of the Eight Senate to confirm his appointment, first in December 2016, and later in March 2017, the agency was still required by law to submit its annual accounts as done by Magu’s predecessors, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, Mrs. Farida Waziri and Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde in compliance with the establishment Act.

Critics say the insistence of the presidency in keeping Ibrahim Magu in office in an acting capacity, despite non-confirmation may have stalled accountability & oversight of the commission even as the National Assembly approves the agency’s budget every year.

This faceoff with the Senate enabled Magu to operate the way he did without any scrutiny, a development that negated the practice of the commission under his predecessors, Ribadu, Ibrahim and Lamorde, who complied with the provision of the law by submitting their annual reports and audited accounts to the National Assembly.

Analysts told THISDAY at the weekend that the kind of financial fraud, Magu is being accused of could only occur in an unsupervised organisation, adding that had the EFCC put itself through the process of an independent audit, a number of the issues Magu is now being accused of might have been resolved.

The Senate had in December 2016 rejected Magu’s nomination as chairman of the commission on the strength of a damning security report by the State Security Service (SSS), which declared him unfit for public office, saying his credibility could not be guaranteed.

Rather than withdraw Magu’s nomination, the presidency represented him in March 2017. Again the Senate refused confirmation and resolved not to consider him again for the position.

The presidency responded by maintaining him in an acting capacity, arguing that it did not require Senate approval for Magu’s appointment since the establish-ment act requiring legislative approval was in conflict with the power of the president to make executive appointments under the constitution.

With the Senate resolving not to have any dealing with Magu, the commission became unable to present its annual report to the National Assembly.Analysts said had the reports been filed all of the issues that are being raised now would probably have been detected by the National Assembly.

“With this kind of situation,” said one analyst, “Magu would appear to have operated without supervision by either the National Assembly or the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, as the minister’s petition accusing him of insubordination has suggested.”

According to another analyst, this absence of legislative oversight would have been avoided if the presidency did not insist on having Magu as the boss of the anti-corruption agency.

Magu was accosted last Monday and taken before a presidential panel of enquiry led by Justice Ayo Salami, investigating allegations of corruption and insubordination brought against him by his supervising minister, Mr. Abubakar Malami.

Aggrieved Staff Leak Information to AGF’s Office

THISDAY also gathered at the weekend that disgruntled members of staff of the commission have been fingered as leaking vital information about Magu’s activities to the Office of the AGF’s office, paving the way for his ongoing probe by a presidential panel.

Magu is answering questions on the 21-point allegation of financial impropriety and fund diversion levelled against him by Malami.

The panel widened the probe last Thursday as it quizzed the commission’s Secretary, Mr. Olanipekun Olukoyede, and other directors of the commission.THISDAY learnt that the panel summoned the top management officers from the commission to narrate all they knew about the allegations against their boss.

At the end of their conversation, the panel was said to have directed the directors and sectional heads in the EFCC to produce files of cases handled since 2015, including forfeited assets’ register and all cash releases within seven days.

However, some the EFCC officials told THISDAY at the weekend that many of them were disgruntled with Magu’s stewardship and accused him of high handedness and neglecting staff welfare.

They said there was a point Magu owed a backlog of salaries and allowances, adding that they had it tough under his leadership.Magu was said to have worked with a few investigators and operatives called ‘Magu Boys” to the detriment and envy of others, triggering a backlash in the form of leakages of official documents and files.

“At a time, workers were owed five months arrears of salaries and allowances and they threatened to take the matter to a popular radio talk show, “Berekete Family,” aired by Human Rights Radio, to express their grievances and call on the management to clear the arrears of salaries and allowances,” a source told THISDAY.

It was learnt that the threat led the EFCC management to intervene after giving several excuses that the agency’s money was held up “somewhere.”At a point, we were owed five months arrears of salaries and allowances. We could not feed our family and do basic things.

“We were organised and threatened to go to Berekete Family (radio show). We gave them an ultimatum, which they could not meet but at the dying minute, they called to say they have found money to pay,” another source, who spoke anonymously, said.He added that the workers queried the position by the management that they found money to pay.

He said: “Why do you have to owe for five months and now have to find money to pay? This is a government agency, an important security agency at that. Where were the arrears kept that you had to look for it for five months?”

THISDAY gathered that investigators who worked closely with Magu were allegedly accorded special treatment, which brewed bad blood that eventually led to internal sabotage.When contacted by THISDAY, spokesman of the commission, Mr. Dele Ojewale, declined to comment on the matter.

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