Ibrahim Magu, Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), may have been shown the exit door by now but for President Muhammadu Buhari’s delay in approving this decision.
This emerged from investigations by INDEPENDENT.
As learnt, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who is believed to have forwarded Magu’s name to the National Assembly (NASS) for confirmation, has a contrary opinion on the sack.
This disagreement in the presidency is believed to have caused the delay in the president’s approval of the anti-graft czar’s removal.
INDEPENDENT gathered, too, that the final pressure may be brought to bear on the president when the time comes for the 2018 budget to be passed by the National Assembly.
Sources revealed that lawmakers had insisted that the removal of the EFCC boss would be a precondition for the National Assembly to work in tandem with the presidency to have the budget proposals passed next year.
On March 15, the Senate rejected Magu’s nomination as the substantive chairman of the commission for the second time, relying on a security report by the Department of State Service (DSS).
According to the report, Magu was alleged to be lacking in enough integrity to lead the country’s anti-corruption agency.
At a recent parley of some key national stakeholders that had the trio of Abdulrahaman Danbazzau, Minister of Interior; Lawal Daura, DSS boss, and Abubakar Malami, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, in attendance, Magu was accused of not “working for national interest”.
As learnt from an impeccable source at the parley, the DSS boss explained that it had established a disturbing relationship between Magu and a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), “which has nothing to do with the scope of economic crime fighting nor national interest.”
INDEPENDENT source noted that the DSS boss had made the presidency aware of these findings and that those concerned were hoping that Mr. President would take the right decision on the matter.
The claim by the DSS was allegedly further corroborated by a reported meeting between President Buhari and his immediate predecessor, ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, where the latter intimated Buhari of alleged detailed plans by Magu, in cahoots with the APC national leader, to blackball and intimidate political leaders from the South of the country.
“The party chieftain wants to be seen as the only political leader from the South of the country after former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Ernest Shonekan appeared to be taking a back sit in national politics of late,” explained a presidency source on the alleged meeting between Buhari and Jonathan.
Buhari was said to have promised Jonathan to look into the matter.
There are other matters involved, as gathered. According to reliable sources, EFCC boss is believed to have alienated himself from critical stakeholders that should have helped in the fight against corruption.
“Lawyers are divided over his methodology and his attitude as a bad loser.
“The lawmakers, especially in the Senate, have been set on warpath principally by unguarded utterances from Magu.
“Even the media is divided over his operation methodology,” explained the source at the presidency.
Late last week, reports emerged that the presidency had concluded arrangement to replace the embattled acting chairman of EFCC who had been working in an acting capacity since his appointment on November 10, 2015.
A Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operations at Police College, Kaduna, Ahmed Abdulrahman, was reported to have been tipped to replace Magu.
There was, however, a last minute stop after Buhari was made to consider public opinion over replacing Magu with another Northerner after more than a decade of Northerners heading the EFCC.