The Head of Operations at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mohammed Umar, has resumed as the acting chairman of the agency.
This comes following the sudden suspension of former acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu’s problems who is currently under investigation by the presidential panel over corruption allegations.
Until his assumption, Umar, a deputy commissioner of police, was the second most senior official at the agency.
TopNaija gathered that there was a push from some quarters in government for the Secretary of the EFCC, Ola Olukoyede, to be appointed as acting chairman pending the completion of the ongoing probe of Magu or the appointment of a new helmsman
However, the move met with stiff opposition and couldn’t succeed because Olukoyede is a civilian.
Meanwhile, Magu’s lawyer, Mr. Tosin Ojaomo, has said he would be applying for the bail of the EFCC boss on Thursday (today).
Ojaomo stated that he had approached the police on Wednesday but was asked to return on Thursday morning to seek his client’s bail.
The lawyer also described as untrue reports that Magu had been suspended and the Director of Operations, Mohammaed Umar, had taken over.
“The truth will soon be out. I was there today (Wednesday) but I couldn’t see him. They said I should come early in the morning so I will be there to apply for his bail. The news that someone has been appointed to replace him or that he is under suspension is not true. There is no letter of suspension. You will be shocked how this will end,” Ojaomo said.
Ojaomo said he visited Garki Area 10, in Abuja, to seek his bail, to no avail. He added, “I have not been shown any court order permitting his detention for more than 48 hours.
“I asked for the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge, to ask for information about what was going on and possibly applied for his bail, but I was told he was not on seat.
Magu’s probe continued to generate reactions on Wednesday. A group, the Civil Society Network Against Corruption, attacked Malami.
The group, which contended that the method adopted in Magu’s probe left much to be desired, accused the AGF of “building a network of people opposed to accountability and transparency in governance.”
The group said this in a statement, titled, “Corrupt politicians must not celebrate over Magu’s ordeal,” signed by one of its promoters, Sina Odugbemi.
The group described as a mockery of the rule of law Magu’s detention by the panel meant to conduct an impartial probe into the allegations against him. The CSNAC also faulted what it called the short notice given to Magu to appear before the panel, saying it was the same way the pioneer Chairman of the EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu, was humiliated out of office by a network of corrupt politicians.
But the Coalition for Good Governance and Justice urged those criticising investigation of Magu to allow the Salami-led presidential panel to complete its tasks.
The Convener of the CCGC, Mr Emmanuel Umohinyang, told journalists on Wednesday that the investigation was an indication that the Buhari regime would not spare or sweep anything under the carpet.
He said, “I think the issue of Ibrahim Magu is a case of the hunter becoming the hunted and it also gives credence to the fact that the Buhari-led administration will not spare or sweep anything under the carpet.”
Another civil society group, the Anti-Corruption and Research-Based Data Initiative, faulted the reactions of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project and a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Femi Odekunle, to the probe of Magu.
The anti-graft group said SERAP and Odekunle should encourage Magu to prove allegations levelled against him by Malami wrong.
The ARDI Executive Secretary, Chief Dennis Aghanya, in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday, said it was inappropriate for Odekunle, a presidential appointee on anti-graft, to condemn the action taken to investigate alleged corruption and misconduct.
This was contained in a statement dated July 8, 2020, titled, ‘PACAC, SERAP should appreciate Malami for living up to his constitutional responsibilities as the Hon. Attorney-General of the Federation,’ signed by Aghanya.
SERAP and Odekunle had, in separate reactions to the arrest of Magu, criticised the action which they described as the result of the power play in the Presidency.
But responding to the criticism, Aghanya said, “Odekunle described the weighty allegations enunciated by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, in his memo to Mr President and the quizzing of Magu for interrogation by a presidential panel, chaired by a former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami as (implying) a witch-hunt.
“Odekunle’s outburst against the office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation, in our considered opinion, is the actual act of sabotage of Mr President’s fight against corruption, openly antagonising another constituted authority of the Federal Government.”
On its part, the Peoples Democratic Party on Wednesday demanded the prosecution of the suspended EFCC boss. The opposition party said this in a statement titled, ‘Fraud: Magu Must Face Prosecution, says PDP, insists indictment reinforces graft allegations.’ The statement was signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan.
The party said after reviewing the reported circumstances surrounding the investigation of the indicted acting chairman of the EFCC, it was demanding his prosecution.
It explained that Magu’s indictment reinforced the PDP’s position that the war against corruption by the EFCC, under his watch, had been a huge scam by corrupt individuals to cover the plundering of public resources, harass political opponents, intimidate and extort money from innocent Nigerians.
Ologbondiyan said, “The revelations of diversion of recovered funds and fraudulent sale of assets seized by the EFCC among other sleazes, as detailed in the memo by the Attorney -General and Minister of Justice, as well as the report of the Department of State Services on Magu’s activities have further exposed the racket that the fight against corruption has become under the All Progressives Congress government.”
“The development has also exposed why corruption has worsened under the Buhari administration, as documented by credible international organisations, including Transparency International.
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