Saturday, 18 March 2017

MAGU FIGHTS BACK: Intensifies Probe Of Senators, Ex-govs


Strong indications emerged yesterday that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), might have re-invigorated a team of detectives investigating some serving senators and former governors. The move, Saturday Telegraph’s investigation revealed, may be a fallout to the fact that the development “will further demonstrate the refusal of the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, to be cowed by powerful elements.”

On the heels of this, the anti-graft agency yesterday said Magu, despite the Senate’s rejection, had been invited by Transparency International (TI) and Global Witness, to address a conference in London on March 21. But speaking on the latest crackdown, a highlyplaced security source, who spoke in confidence with Saturday Telegraph yesterday, said investigation into the tenure of a former governor, who is also an influential Senator, had reached an advanced stage.

The source further revealed that the alleged involvement or otherwise of a former state’s chief executive in the Paris Club funds’ scandal, would soon be established, “as the probe is progressing professionally and satisfactorily.”

Saturday Telegraph’s findings showed that about 29 choice properties in the United Arab Emirate (UAE), had been traced to the said influential Senator.

“From all indication, it is instructive to note that the EFCC’s crackdown has started yielding dividends as investigations revealed that an influential serving senator has about 29 choice properties somewhere in Dubai and this is authoritative.

“In the coming days, I am very sure Nigerians will be informed about the status of the serving senator, which might be instrumental in some respect to the developments in the Senate Chamber this week,” the source added. Each of the assets located in the highbrow areas of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the UAE, is estimated at about $2 million.

“In the coming weeks and months, the public will get to know outcomes of some of these investigations, some of which will reveal why some forces are bent on not having Magu confirmed,” the source said. Unconfirmed reports had claimed that staved-off pressures to back down on some cases initiated against high-profile politicians by the anti-graft agency. It will be recalled that the Senate, on Wednesday, rejected the nomination of Magu for appointment as substantive chairman of the EFCC.

The Red Chamber had predicated its decision to reject President Muhammadu Buhari’s nominee on a report by the Department of State Services (DSS), which allegedly called Ma-gu’s integrity into question.

The Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, had yet to respond to a text message Saturday Telegraph forwarded to his phone as at the time the newspaper went to bed. Meanwhile, a statement issued by Uwujaren, said Magu would deliver a pa-per entitled: “Give Us Our Money Back – Nigeria’s Fight Against Corruption: A Critical Conversation”.

Uwujaren said: “Days after the Senate rejected his nomination, Ibrahim Magu, the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been invited by two leading anti-corruption organisations, the Transparency International and Global Witness to speak at an international conference on money laundering and assets recovery on March 21, 2017 in London.”