The suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has allegedly been accused of turning EFCC into `glorified police station’ for alleged selfish motives.
The accusation was contained in a report submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari by the investigative committee set up to look into the activities of the EFCC under Magu.
According to the report, Magu has continued seconding police officers to the EFCC despite the massive recruitment of officers and men carried out by the commission in recent years.
“The blatant display of arrogance and acquisition of illicit wealth has turned the EFCC into a glorified police station.
“Despite massive recruitment of officers and men in recent years by the (suspended) acting chairman at the EFCC, he is still seconding police officers to the EFCC because he is comfortable with his fellow officers to carry out his illicit activities.
“He does not have any exit strategy for the police even though the EFCC officers are more experienced in the investigation of economic and financial crimes,’’ the report further noted.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Muhammed Adamu, had on Friday ordered the withdrawal of mobile policemen attached to Magu, who is being held at Area 10 Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID), Abuja.
Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, had on July 11 explained that Magu was being investigated as a result of series of documented allegations made against him.
He added that detailed investigations were being carried out following a preliminary review of the allegations leveled against Magu and several other members of staff of the EFCC..
“Hence, an investigative panel was constituted in compliance with the extant laws governing the convening of such a body.
“As is the proper procedure, when allegations are made against the Chief Executive of an institution, and in this case an institution that ought to be seen as beyond reproach, the Chief Executive has to step down from his post and allow for a transparent and unhindered investigation,’’ he said.
Magu was also accused of allegedly failing to give proper account of missing 332 out of the 836 recovered real estate property in March, 2018.
A report by the Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets (PCARA) confirmed the development, indicating that the unaccounted property was worth billions of naira.
The report also noted massive wastage and deterioration of physical assets (including landed property, cars and vessels) recovered by the EFCC due to poor management.
It also noted with concern the failure to preserve and realise the economic value of the recovered assets, noting that some of the assets were recovered over 15 years ago and left fallow.
“A disturbing example are the vessels that allegedly sunk at NNS Beecroft Naval BASE, Lagos and NNS Pathfinder Naval Base in Port Harcourt without trace under the watch of the acting Chairman of EFCC.
“The vessels named MT GOOD SUCCESS, MV PSV DERBY and MV THAMES were allowed to sink in spite of several warnings from the Navy on the need to evacuate the petroleum products in the vessels.
“The total value of the assets lost due to the negligence runs into millions of US dollars
“The (suspended) acting Chairman is yet to provide a report on what happened to these vessels,’’ the report said.
Magu, who is currently facing charges of mismanagement and lack of transparency in managing recovered assets as well as flagrant disobedience to directives and to court orders, would be expected to provide answers to the conflicting figures.
The PCARA report also noted that the few consultants hired by EFCC were not managing a substantial number of the recovered assets and that the EFCC has no capacity to manage the entire assets on its own.
The committee, therefore, alerted the nation on the economic and environmental implications of this negligent of duty by the commission.
It equally observed that EFCC made conflicting submissions or returns to it in respect of the non-cash assets which substantially affected the committee’s assignment.
The report read in part: “For instance, EFCC stated 836 as the number of Recovered Real Estate in the Original Returns it made to the President on 07/04/2017.
“However, in its 1st Returns to PCARA on 13/12/2017, EFCC short changed the system and gave the figure of 339 thereby failing to account for 497 property.
“It is interesting to note that when the Acting Chairman was further queried on this lapse, he made further contradictory 2nd return of 504 on 09/03/2018 thereby bridging the gap to 332 property.’’
The committee identified lack of internal control mechanisms/ systems within EFCC and Lack of adequate returns by EFCC Departments and Zonal Offices as reasons for these discrepancies and inconsistencies by the commission.
The suspended EFCC boss was also alleged to have neglected and refused to comply with the Regulations on the Management of Recovered Assets, 2019 as he embarked on disposing some of the property without regard to extant law.
“These Regulations was issued in line with international best practices and to ensure that all the anti-corruption agencies report all their recovered assets in a database provided by the Federal Government.
’’It is important to note that the (suspended) Acting Chairman in apparent disregard of the regulation is disposing of these properties without regard to extant laws, and Regulations and without reference to the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and in effect, there is no way to have an audit of the property.
“This is also a clear sign that there is a deliberate attempt to hide the exact figures of recoveries, which is an indication of fraudulent intent.
“These actions of the (suspended) Ag. Chairman in refusing the Regulation is a clear case of refusal to follow lawful instructions and directives contrary to the provisions of the Act that establish the EFCC,’’ a separate report on the matter, addressed to the president, further noted.
According to the fresh report, Magu and some top officials of EFCC were allegedly using these recovered assets to corruptly enrich themselves.
The report also listed the number of the affected properties suspected to have been illegally acquired as well as the bank accounts of those individuals serving as fronts for Magu and the affected EFCC officials.
“Most of the recovered assets are allegedly sold without anyone knowing and without proper records and without recourse to the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing that has the mandate to undertake evaluation of such property.
“Some of the assets have been taken over by EFCC officials while some are sold at giveaway prices to friends and cronies of the Acting Chairman.
“It is also on record that the (suspended) acting chairman is maintaining different accounts, including using proxies who return the benefit of the sold assets to him.
“These funds are then used to procure property and lands in the names of some of his proxies,’’ the report further stated.