A fresh plot for the removal of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu is being hatched.
Some lobbyists, comprising “powerful” citizens, have allegedly visited London with the names of two likely candidates to succeed Magu, The Nation learnt.
The preferred candidates are a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) and an Assistant Commissioner of Police, with the DCP highly-favoured.
Also, some unknown security agents have been combing Magu’s uncompleted bungalow in Karshi, an Abuja suburb, in search of some evidence. The agents were said to have dug up a soak-away pit at the site – apparently in search of buried cash or some documents.
But the combing of the bungalow yielded no fruit as nothing incriminating was found. The development, The Nation learnt, shocked the Acting EFCC chairman who was away in Malawi when the unknown security men invaded the uncompleted house.
There is also panic among investigators, in Magu’s household, and among his associates on the sudden search without warrant. For the second time on March 15, the Senate rejected Magu as the substantive chairman of the EFCC following the reaffirmation of a report on him by the Department of State Services (DSS).
The DSS insisted that Magu cannot lead the country’s anti-corruption agency. Magu’s rejection has caused some disquiet between the Presidency and the Senate, with the latter demanding that the Acting Chairman should vacate the office.
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo said in the light of Section 171 of the 1999 Constitution, the President can retain Magu without the Senate’s confirmation.
The Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) led by Prof. Itse Sagay, has also advised the President to retain Magu, based on the provision of the constitution.
Arrayed against Magu are some forces in government, a few governors and members of the National Assembly who are said to be mounting pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari to relieve Magu of his job.
The anti-Magu forces allegedly hinge their advice to the President on the “need to avert a long-drawn crisis with the National Assembly over Magu.”
They are said to be “angry with Magu’s name and shame style” which has created political backlash for the President.
But the main complaint of the forces borders on their “inability of those in government to control Magu when it is necessary to apply the brakes.”
It was learnt that some of those opposed to Magu have secretly visited London with the names of the two candidates who they rate “as efficient as Magu”.
There were indications yesterday that the two candidates were undergoing some checks. One of the candidates is believed to be close to a principal officer of the National Assembly. The leakage of the search for Magu’s replacement has ruffled feathers in EFCC and among some government functionaries.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Some powerful forces have decided to prevail on the President to remove Magu, having been rejected twice by the Senate. They said Magu should not be treated as indispensable.
“Some of them are angry that the EFCC has been closing in on them and their associates. Others have outstanding reports against them.
“They are using likely conflict between the Presidency and the National Assembly as an excuse but they are out to protect class interest.
“Some of them have also been uncomfortable with the style of the EFCC chairman. They alleged that it might have political backlash for the President.
“If care is not taken, these powerful lobbyists may have their way. A principal officer of the National Assembly is said to be highly connected with one of the shortlisted candidates.
“The plot has been perfected in a manner that Magu’s removal might be a priority decision of the government before or when the President returns.”
The Nation learnt that there are five options on Magu, including outright sack or retirement to pave the way for his trial in court over the DSS report; redeployment to the police; foreign posting as a Defence Attache; and redeployment to Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Offences Commission (ICPC) as Director of Operations.