By Chidiebere Onyemaizu
It is not clear if Ibrahim Magu had ever heard of Magun , the Yoruba fetish preparation that traps adulterous wives and their lovers with deadly consequences. If he was aware of it ,he certainly didn’t expect that he would be caught by DSS’s Magun neither was he expecting to be asked to ‘take a bow and go’. He knew there would be skirmishes with the Senators but he was convinced he would emerge from it, after his first brush with them last December, with a confirmation as the substantive Chairman of Nigeria’s prime anti-crime, buster, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, and triumphantly drive in a convoy to his office to celebrate it .
This Magazine was told that Magu’s hope of scaling the Senate’s hurdles was buoyed following President Muhammadu Buhari’s meeting with Senate President,Bukola Saraki a day earlier. In his estimation, the President would have intervened on his behalf.
If indeed the President had pleaded for Magu, and the Senate turned out the next day to sting the embattled EFCC boss, then this eight Senate barks and bite, and fiercely independent.
It was not his birthday but Wednesday, March 16, 2017 will remain etched in Ibrahim Magu’s memory. That was the day he faced fire and got consumed by it. When he walked into the Senate Chambers that Wednesday afternoon, he knew that no kid treatment awaited him but the magnitude of the bruises Magu suffered was beyond his imagination.
Once he had taken his position in , Senators started hurling questions at him. Initially,the questions-majorly bordering on his suitability for the job, disobedience of Court orders, non respect for Federal Character in the employment of EFCC operatives among others-were mild and Magu effortlessly answered them.
Then Dino Melaye’s Salvo changed the tempo and character of the screening and disoriented Magu. Silence descended on the Senate Chamber, only broken by occasional shake of the heads in utter bewilderment, as Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West) reeled out the content of the second Department of State Security,DSS report on Magu sent to the upper Chamber at 5pm on Tuesday, March 14, 2003, less than 24 hours to the screening. The letter was a re-affirmation of the Service’s first letter to the Senate in December which the Service had indicted prompting the Senate not to screen him. Melaye reminded his colleagues that DSS is equivalent of United States of America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI and therefore its reports must not be treated with levity.
The DSS letter ends with, ‘In the light of the foregoing, Magu has failed the integrity test and will eventually constitute a liability to the anti-corruption stand of the current government”.
According to the DSS letter indicting him, “In August 2008, following a search at his residence during the tenure of Farida WAZIRI (AIG/Rtd) as the commission’s chairman, some sensitive EFCC documents which were not supposed to be at his disposal were discovered. He was subsequently redeployed to the police after days of detention and later suspended from the Force. In December 2010, the Police Service Commission found Magu guilty of “Action prejudicial to state security, withholding of EFCC files, sabotage, unauthorised removal of EFCC files and acts unbecoming of a Police officer,” and awarded him severe reprimand as punishment.”.
Magu,the DSS says, stinks of corruption: “ Magu is currently occupying a residence rented for N40m, at N20m per annum. This accommodation was not paid for from the commission’s finances but by one Umar Mohammed , a questionable businessman and ally of subject who has subsequently been arrested by this service. For the furnishing of the residence, Mohammed enlisted the Federal Capital Development Authority to award a contract to Africa Energy, a company owned by the same Mohammed to lavishly furnish the residence at the cost of N43m.
According to DSS’s letter to the Senate, “Investigation also revealed that Magu parades a twin personality. At one level, he is the czar who has no friends, no favourites and is ready to fight corruption to a standstill. However, with a key friend in the person of Umar Mohammed (Air Commodore/Rtd), a controversial businessman, he has betrayed the confidence reposed in him by the present administration. Whereas Magu portrays himself as very secretive, he has fostered a mutually beneficial relationship with Mohammed who, by his confession, approaches ‘clients’ for possible exploitation, favours and associated returns. This was facilitated with official secrets divulged by Magu and from which dealings he is believed to have been drawing considerable benefits. This was evidenced by the number of official and classified documents he made available to his associates, especially Mohammed. After a search of Mohammed’s premises, a forged letter of the Office of the Vice President, dated 20th May, 2016, was recovered. The letter was a fictitious investigation report from Vice President to Mr. President, requesting for approval to commence further probe into a matter allegedly involving Hon. Minister of State Petroleum. Attached to the letter were two EFCC letters dated 13th April, 2016, and another 24th March, 2016, addressed to the Vice President being investigation reports on the activities of Emmanuel Kachikwu and his brother Dumebi Kachikwu. Similarly recovered during the search were information on assets and personal details of Kachikwu.”
The acting EFCC chairman was also accused by the DSS of fraternizing with corrupt individuals under investigation by the Commission: “Investigations show that the Acting EFCC Chairman regularly embarks on official and private trips through a private carrier, Easyjet, owned by Mohammed. In one of such trips, Magu flew to Maiduguri, alongside Mohammed and the MD of a bank who was being investigated by the commission over complicity in funds allegedly stolen by the immediate past Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.”
The DSS indicts him further: “Investigation also revealed that Magu parades a twin personality. At one level, he is the czar who has no friends, no favourites and is ready to fight corruption to a standstill. However, with a key friend in the person of Umar Mohammed (Air Commodore/Rtd), a controversial businessman, he has betrayed the confidence reposed in him by the present administration. Whereas Magu portrays himself as very secretive, he has fostered a mutually beneficial relationship with Mohammed who, by his confession, approaches ‘clients’ for possible exploitation, favours and associated returns. This was facilitated with official secrets divulged by Magu and from which dealings he is believed to have been drawing considerable benefits”.
Still pummeling Magu , the DSS revealed that contrary to his saintly posture, he executes his alleged illicit corruptions using fellow policemen as proxies: “To cover his tracks, Magu uses only his police cronies to execute operations. This, coupled with discoveries that such police cronies have acquired a lot of landed property, lends credence to the questions about his integrity”
Oblivion of the grim fate that the Senate was poised to hand down to him, outside the Chambers, Magu talked tough, boasting that nobody would stop him. However, few minutes later, in an overwhelming majority decision, the Senators decided not to confirm him and ordered him to immediately stop parading himself as the EFCC Acting Chairman as he has ceased to function in that capacity. The Senate also asked President Buhari to send his replacement.
Now that the DSS Magun has caught Magu, observers have been pondering his fate and future. While many say he has no option than to return to the police where he holds the rank of an Assistant Police Commissioner, ACP, others want him to stand trial for corrupt practices on the strength of the DSS report. Apart from the incriminating DSS report against him, a school of thought believes that Magu also dug his own grave via acts of overzealousness such as hasty freezing of accounts of individuals without due investigation, disobedience to court orders among others.
Meanwhile, there are indications that the embattled ACP’s fate will be determined by the Police Service Commission, PSC, a body statutorily charged with promotion and discipline of erring police officers up to the rank of Deputy Inspector-General of Police, DIG, in the coming days. The Presidency, it has been learnt is already shopping for Magu’s replacement as the next EFCC boss.
Magu became acting EFCC chairman following President Buhari’s sack of Ibrahim Larmode, the man who had facilitated his return to the Commission after he was initially shown the way out during Farida era for acts unbecoming of a police officer and official of the Commission.