Panel Quizzes More EFCC Directors as Magu’s Interrogation Enters Day 6

Ibrahim Magu

•Recovered funds in TSA don’t generate interest, says suspended EFCC boss

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

The presidential panel probing alleged corrupt practices against the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, yesterday quizzed more directors of the commission at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The interrogation was a follow-up to last Thursday’s grilling of some top directors of the EFCC, including the commission’s Secretary, Mr. Olanipekun Olukoyede, and few other directors as Magu’s interrogation entered the sixth day yesterday.
Magu also yesterday pushed back allegations that he diverted interests on recovered funds, saying that recovered funds were kept in Single Treasury Account (TSA) and could not have generated interest.

This is coming as the General Overseer of Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministries International, Abuja, Prophet Emmanuel Omale, has denied allegations that he bought a property in Dubai worth N573 million on behalf of Magu.

The EFCC’s directors, who appeared before the Justice Ayo Salami-led presidential panel investigating a 21-point allegation of financial impropriety and fund diversion levelled against Magu, were asked to tell the panel all they knew about the allegations of fund diversion and other alleged misdemeanours against Magu and the commission under his leadership.

Top directors of EFCC who had appeared before the panel last Thursday did not provide satisfactory answers and were told to return for further interrogation with files of cases they handled since 2015, including assets’ register and records of cash releases within seven days.

The directors who were reportedly tagged “Magu boys” because they were said to be especially favoured by the suspended EFCC boss, had been summoned by the panel for interrogation in view of allegations levelled against them by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami.

Malami had in a letter he earlier sent to President Muhammadu Buhari, accused the “Magu boys” of perpetrating atrocities such as extortion, selling recovered assets without following due process and failing to remit proceeds to the Federation Account.
THISDAY learnt yesterday that directors who appeared before the panel last Thursday and were given seven days to return with files and documents are expected back before the committee today.

Magu was ambushed on the road in Abuja on July 6, by security agents and escorted to the presidential panel, which had been sitting three weeks earlier with their activities shrouded in secrecy.
He was subsequently detained at the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) from where he has been appearing daily before the panel, since last week. His house was also searched last week and some sensitive documents recovered.

The embattled EFCC boss, who has since remained in detention since last Monday, had filed a bail application before the police through one of his lawyers.
He was formally suspended last Friday, by the president and has been appearing before the panel every day except on Saturday and Sunday.

Recovered Funds in TSA Don’t Generate Interest, Says Magu

Meanwhile, Magu has stated that the allegations that he diverted interests on recovered funds were false, clarifying that recovered funds were kept in the TSA and could not have generated interest.
The Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets (PCARA) had reportedly accused Magu of not accounting for interests on N550 billion that was recovered.

But in a statement issued yesterday by Magu’s counsel, Mr. Wahab Shittu, the suspended EFCC boss described the claim as a “blatant falsehood.”
He said the recovered funds were lodged in the TSA with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), adding that funds in the TSA do not generate interests.

He stated: “It is a falsehood that Magu placed N550 billion recovered loot into a deposit account.
“The alleged transaction never featured in the proceedings before the Salami panel. Magu was never confronted with any such allegation by the panel and the news is a blatant falsehood.

“To the best of Magu’s knowledge, no such amount is in any such account and he remains aghast at such outrageous figures. No one has confronted Magu with such allegations.

“All recovered funds are lodged in the Treasury Single Account (TSA) with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Such recovered funds do not generate interest. This is elementary and can be verified from the CBN and the Federal Ministry of Finance.
“This can also be confirmed by other government revenue generating agencies. Funds kept in TSA account do not generate interest.”

Cleric Denies Buying N573m Property for Magu

The General Overseer of Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministries International, Abuja, Prophet Emmanuel Omale, has denied an allegation that he bought a property in Dubai worth N573million on behalf of Magu.
The prophet said this yesterday in a pre-litigation letter addressed to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
In the letter which was signed by his lawyer, Chief Gordy Uche (SAN), the cleric said he met Magu in Dubai earlier in the year but it was not to buy a property.

He said the suspended EFCC boss had travelled to Dubai for medical reasons and he only prayed with him.
The cleric said the NAN report reeks of calumny, denigration, actuated by malice, and is calculated to ridicule and disparage him and cast a stain on his reputation; expose him to public hatred and contempt and injure him in his religious calling, as the General Overseer of Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministries International.

The letter read in part, “We, however, wish to make the following clarifications to put the public records straight: That our client is the General Overseer of an inter-denominational/multi-religious prayer ministry.

“That our client, only visited Mr. Ibrahim Magu in a hospital in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, sometime in March 2020.
“That our client never laundered any funds whatsoever for Mr. Ibrahim Magu or for anybody whatsoever. Our client does not own any foreign bank account anywhere in the world.

“That there are no funds whatsoever traceable from Mr. Ibrahim Magu to our client’s bank accounts whatsoever neither has our client received any funds whatsoever from Mr. Ibrahim Magu. Our client has never received any funds whatsoever from anybody on behalf of Mr. Ibrahim Magu.

“That our client does not own any property in Dubai. His name was never used to purchase any property whatsoever in Dubai, United Arab Emirates or anywhere else in any part of the world, neither has he purchased any property nor properties for Mr. Ibrahim Magu in any part of the world whatsoever.”

He subsequently asked NAN to retract the publication, which “has severely injured his reputation, character and calling.”
The cleric asked NAN to restrain itself from further defamation of his character or a libel suit of N1 billion would be instituted against the agency.