The suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has announced his intention to face those accusing him of corruption and violation of public trust squarely henceforth.
Magu’s new resolve was contained in a press release by his legal representative Wahab Shittu. The embattled anti-corruption official denied having anything to do with recovered funds from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
According to Magu, the allegations against him border on matters that were never brought before the panel set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to probe the activities of the EFCC under him and insisted that the allegations were prejudicial to the proceedings of the panel.
”Take notice that, our client can no longer fold his hands in the face of these sustained malicious attacks to prejudge him in the public space. Our client will henceforth, point by point reply to all false allegations orchestrated against him in the public space on a daily basis as well as present his comprehensive defense for the world to see,” he said through his lawyer.
”This is without prejudice to the willingness of our client to defend himself in the ongoing proceedings at the Presidential Investigation Panel.
“The truth of the matter is that well over N329 billion recovered by EFCC under our client’s watch was remitted directly into NNPC dedicated accounts via Remita under a special arrangement endorsed by NNPC, EFCC and the affected NNPC’s indebted marketers.
“By virtue of the said special arrangement, NNPC had requested formally the EFCC to recover the said amount from the affected NNPC’s marketers who were expected to pay such funds directly to NNPC while NNPC, in turn, confirmed receipt of such payments to EFCC.
“Therefore, EFCC never took custody of any of the recovered funds and so, the question of misappropriation of such funds by EFCC or our client could not have arisen as falsely published,” he said.
Shittu continued, “Our client has never been confronted with any such allegations purportedly arising from the panel’s proceedings. The story attributed to the panel which has become a recurring decimal, is a dangerous attempt to discredit the work of the honourable panel,” he said.
Magu pointed that the allegation that he was shielding some persons in the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) from prosecution was false.
“Investigations were painstakingly conducted by EFCC under our client’s watch. The matter has since been referred for prosecution. Charges have been prepared ahead of arraignment in court,” he said.
“Our client has no interest in shielding anyone found culpable from the long arms of the law. At any rate, time does not run against the state in criminal prosecutions. It is tendentiously wicked to suggest that our client excluded major approving authorities from the criminal process.
“As a matter of fact, one Peter Hena, head of the FIRS coordinator support services group, who allegedly authorized the illegal payment is one of those listed to be arraigned. The case was properly investigated and professionally vetted with our client deploying no influence whatsoever on the outcome,” he concluded.
Magu’s ordeals began in the first weeks of July when he was arrested and brought before the Justice Ayo Salami panel probing allegations bordering on violation of trust, abuse of office and insubordination against him. The former EFCC boss spent several days in detention before he was released on self recognition by the inspector general of police. He has continued to make persistent efforts to clear his name in the media, insisting that he did no wrong during the five year period he ran the commission as acting chairman.