by Tolu Orekoya
Before his exit from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu has garnered a fearsome reputation as the head of the Economic Governance Unit (EGU). Handpicked by the then EFCC boss, Nuhu Ribadu, he was found to be incorruptible and during his tenure, he netted several big fishes including James Ibori, who was discharged and acquitted by a Federal High Court in Asaba, and later found guilty of similar money laundering charges and jailed in the UK.
Magu, along with Ribadu, returned to the police force under a suspicious cloud and was thereafter accused of illegally keeping case files on high ranking politicians and was detained for this in 2008.
The new EFCC boss, Lamorde has sought Magu’s return to the Commission but progress on his posting has been hampered by what many believe may be the influence of ‘powerful toes’ that he stepped on during his tenure at the EFCC. It is believed that those people, most of who occupy sensitive positions in government are now sticking out their feet to trip him up.
According to Premium Times,
Several sources within the commission said Mr. Magu, a chief superintendent of police, who served as head of the Economic Governance Unit (EGU) of the EFCC during the tenure of Nuhu Ribadu as chairman, made several enemies while at the commission, with many of them ensuring he never returns.
“Magu made several enemies while at the EFCC. You know he was the brain behind high profile investigations like Saraki, Odili and others,” a top EFCC source said. He also stated that “many of them have vowed not to let him return to the EFCC.”
The EFCC has made requests for members of the police to be redeployed to their offices and while Magu’s name was on the list of requested staff, his name was absent on the approved list, raising eyebrows, and there were questions asked about why his name was absent. Intervention from the president’s office may resolve the issue soon, however.
We did not bow to pressure
While senior officials in the EFCC and the police believe Mr. Magu is being witch-hunted for his past roles in the commission, police spokesman, Frank Mba, says the IGP did no wrong in the deployment.
“The IGP can execute his discretion in any way he decides in the overall interest of the force,” Mr. Mba said.
Mr. Mba denied that the police boss bowed to political pressure in not deploying Mr. Magu to the EFCC saying, “If you have any evidence to show that the IGP has bowed to pressure, show us your evidence.”
The EFCC may soon get its dear anti-corruption fighter as sources at the police headquarters informed PREMIUM TIMES that President Goodluck Jonathan has intervened in Mr. Magu’s case.
“The President has directed that the police co-operate with the EFCC by releasing any police official the commission needs to strengthen itself,” our source said.
Following the Presidents intervention, it is expected that Mr. Magu would be released to the EFCC, an act which Premium Times learnt is a major source of relief to Mr. Lamorde.
“Chairman (Mr. Lamorde) believes he needs men like Magu to work with him. I’m sure it will make their (EFCCs) work more efficient,” our source said.