Panel Quizzes Top EFCC Officials as Magu’s Interrogation Enters Fourth Day

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Ibrahim Magu

•Demands files of cases, forfeited assets’ register, cash releases since 2015
•My house not searched by anti-graft agency, says Abdusalami Abubakar

By Omololu Ogunmade

The presidential panel probing alleged corrupt practices against the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, yesterday widened the scope of its investigation, quizzing the commission’s Secretary, Mr. Olanipekun Olukoyede, and other directors of the commission.

The EFCC’s top officials appeared before the Justice Ayo Salami-led panel investigating the 21-point allegation of financial impropriety and fund diversion levelled against Magu, whose interrogation entered the fourth day yesterday.

THISDAY learnt that the panel summoned the top management officers from the commission to narrate all they knew about the allegations against their embattled 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.

Magu was brought before the panel at 10a.m. yesterday morning from the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) where he has been detained since Monday as his appearance before the panel entered the fourth day.

It was learnt that Magu appeared before the panel yesterday, accompanied by his lawyer and former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Kanu Agabi (SAN). Incidentally, Agabi was the AGF when EFCC was established.

My House Not Searched by Anti-graft Agency, Says Abdusalami Abubakar

Meanwhile, a former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, yesterday refuted a suggestion by Chairman, THISDAY Editorial Board, Mr. Segun Adeniyi, in his column in yesterday’s edition of the newspaper, that his house was searched by the EFCC on the instruction of Magu.

In a statement by his Military Assistant, Capt. J. Mfon, and made available to THISDAY last night, Abubakar said his residence had never been searched by either the anti-graft agency or any other security agency.

He stated: “The attention of His Excellency General A. A. Abubakar has been drawn to reports that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) searched his house in Minna, Niger State, on the orders of its Acting Chairman, CP Ibrahim Magu, and HE feels the need to put the record straight: His house has never been searched by either the EFCC or any security agency.

“However, sometimes in 2017 operatives of the commission from Kano zone came to Minna to search a house in Tunga. The team ended up at His Excellency’s Guest House in Minna and told the security officers on duty that they had instructions from their zonal head to search the property.

“The officers said since the numbering of houses in Tunga was haphazard, it must be a case of mistaken identity. When CP Magu was contacted, he said he was not aware of the operation. Thereafter, the EFCC team from Kano left. His Excellency’s understanding is that they realised they came to the wrong address. However, no search was conducted in the guest house.

“His Excellency, as a rule, does not comment on media publications directed at or concerning him. He has taken this step in view of the reactions these reports are generating. His Excellency felt the need to provide this important clarification due to the ongoing media frenzy insinuating His Excellency’s role in Magu’s issue.”

But in a short reaction to Abdusalami’s rebuttal, Adeniyi said: “Gen. Abdulsalami called me to explain that he had no problem with Magu and that the house in question was a guest house and it was by mistake. Mrs. Daisy Danjuma also called me earlier in the day. She confirmed they recently purchased a plane to replace the old one but that there was no EFCC problem with the cheque which she said she signed. She also said her husband never complained about Magu.

“I think the problem is that some readers are interpreting my anecdote to mean that both Danjuma and Abdulsalami had anything to do with the travails of Magu. I made no such claim in my column.”