EFCC: Magu Walks Out Of Police Custody A Free Man, Denies Giving N4 Billion to Vice President Osinbajo Or N28 Million to Falana, SAN

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By Stephen Ubanna And Emmanuel Ufot

When Femi Adesina , a  Senior  Special Assistant to the President, on Media and Publicity , appeared on Channels Television, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020, and  declared that Ibrahim Magu , now being investigated  by Justice Ayo Salami, a former President of the Appeal Court at the instance of the Presidency is not yet being tried, many knew that that it was a a soft landing for him to walk out of  the police detention a free man.

True to their believe,  the  former EFCC, acting Chairman  was released from police Custody on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. Prior to his release, there had been pressures on Mohammed  Adamu , the Inspector General of Police from several quarters  both within  and outside the country to release him on bail because of his good works in the Commission. Oluwatosin  Ojaomo, his Lawyer , started  pushing for his release bail on self-recognition by the police after he had spent four days in  their custody.

 The pressure was so much  that Adamu, the IGP, was said to have asked the detained Magu  ‘’to direct  his application  for bail  to the Presidential panel and not the police.  The Value News cited the letter of the IGP , to Magu’s Layer  which reads in part: the Inspector General of police directs  that your attention  be drawn  to the fact that  the Nigerian Police  is not investigating Magu, a Commissioner of Police and he is accordingly not being detained by the police but the Presidential panel that is investigating the activities of the EFCC.

The IGP, therefore advises, that you  consider directing  your request to the Chairman  of the Presidential probe panel for appropriate attention.The Lawyer may have heeded to the IGP, instruction  as the former EFCC boss was invited  by the panel in the Presidential Villa on Monday , July 6, 2020.

Abubakar Malami: Attorney General and minister of Justice

Note that the embattled  former ECC, acting Chairman, has been in detention at the instance of the Presidential Panel probing the activities of the Commission over the last five years for about  10 days. The former EFCC, strong man problem was said to have started when Abubakar Malami, Attorney General of the Federation and minister of Justice, petitioned the Presidency alleging monumental  fraud in the Management of the affairs of the Commission ,diversion of the recovered  loot  and property by Magu using cronies.

According to  excerpts of the Panel  report which are already in public domain, the panel was said to have found  that Magu  sold some  recovered  assets to  his friends, close allies and some officials of the Commission ,who bought the assets at give away prices.The panel report shows that  the  former anti-graft agency  boss unilaterally did most of the auction without the knowledge of Malami, the minister of Justice and the supervising  minister.

The Assets  were said to have been sold without’’ any records of sales ‘’ or  informing ‘’the appropriate Authorities  and without due regards to the Rule of Law and the office of the Attorney General of the Federation’’.

The interim report of the Justice Salami Presidential Panel may have made it clear to those that cares to listen that Magu, has a case to answer over unaccounted  N550   billion recovered funds from looters. The Panel  has said that   the  former  anti-graft agency helmsman failed to make a report of  the actual lodgment of the said amount, an act which clearly  established the fact  that the interest elements of the sum may have been diverted during the period  under review.

During the Investigation, the Panel was said to have realised that the embattled suspended EFCC acting Chairman did not account  for the missing properties out of the total 836 as at March 2018 and the interest supposedly generated from the N550 billion  recovered funds from 2015 when he assumed office till July. The Panel report shows  a clear case of misappropriation of funds.

Beyond  this , more facts are still emerging on the Magu  alleged fraud saga. He was alleged to have used one Emmanuel Omalewe, a Clergy man, founder of an Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, based Pentecostal Church,  Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministry, to launder money abroad.

 Part of the proceeds of the  illicit deal as discovered by the Panel was what  the said Pastor   used as a front  had used  to buy landed property worth  n573 million in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, UAE for him. Still on his handling of recovered looted funds, a Lagoss based popular and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, , Femi Falana, was said to have  in one instance  been  given N28 million .

The disclosure was carried in The Nation’s Newspaper. But the erudite Lawyer has denied collecting any such money , and has threatened legal action if the media did not retract the  story and allegations.

Even Yemi Osinbajo, a Professor and the country’s Vice President has not been spared the smear of Magu-gate as people are already tagging it. Magu was said to have given the Vice n4 billion. An aggrieved Osinbajo has refuted it and asked the IGP, to investigate the damning allegation leveled against him through an online Media.

Osinbajo and Falana may have been saved the troubles of all the allegations as as Magu, who has just regained hs freedom has written to the Panel investigating the allegations of mismanagement of the EFCC, over what he described as publications prejudicial to the proceedings of the Panel.

In the letter that was said to have been addressed to Justice Salami, Chairman of the Probe Panel, Wahab Shittu, one of Magu’s Lawyers had referred to the claims that the former EFCC, boss paid N4 billion to the Osnbajo the Vice President and another N28 million to Falana, SAN. The suspended EFCC acting Chairman has said that the allegations were false and an attempt to tarnish their har-earned image by the Lawyer.He was said to have also denied any link with a Kaduna based Bureau De Change Operator as alleged.

But those who knew Magu , say  he is not likely  to give up without  fighting back. His target, according to a source,  is Malami, the minister of Justice ,whose allegations and that of Yusuf Birchi, Director General, Department of State  Security, DSS,  numbering 24,, has turned Magu  from the hunter being hunted.

He was said to have  told the Justice Salami Panel  to probe the AGF over the sale of some recovered Assets.  He had alleged that  the AGF, granted  two separate approvals  to an auctioneer to conduct an open bid for sale of  Crude oil and diesel as well as five vessels  forfeited by an  illegal Bunkering Syndicate to the government.

The former EFCC   acting Chairman  was said to have told the Panel that Malami does not have the Constitutional powers  to give such approvals for the auction sales of recovered Assets, stressing that such responsibilities and powers  resides  with the minister of Finance.

Even as the can of worms continues to spill out  the issue has generated   lot of discourse in many fora. To many Nigerians , even as they doubted  the sincerity of Magu anti-Corruption war which was  clearly lopsided taken only to the Opposition Camp, the fraud discovery  against the anti-graft Czar in the eyes  of Nigerians has made nonsense of  President Muhammadu Buhari acclaimed  anti-Corruption fight.

In fact, to many what is playing out  has vindicated those  who had repeatedly said that the mouthed Cooruption  war  of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, government  was just a smokescreen, that based on Transparency  International Report last year, , Corruption was more pronounced  in this government  than the previous one as many Nigerians were made to believe.

But some analysts had blamed  the Kasina state born Nigerian President  for the mess by insisting that  Magu  that must stay in office in office, even when the DSS report  had indicted him as not   being suitable to lead the agency  which  informed why  the Bukola Saraki, led 8th Senate refusing  to confirm  his appointment twice.

Femi Fani-Kayode, one of those who have rough time with Magu in his apparent vendetta  anti-Corruption approach, had alleged that Magu never work  for Buhari b but Osinbajo  and Ahmed Bola Tinubu, a former governor of  Lagos state and the APC National leader.  He claimed that the duo were Magu godfather and  the target is them.

For now  relations are still continuing  and the Opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had  insisted that Magu should be prosecuted. However pending the Completion of  his investigation by the probe panel and the outcome,, sources within  the Presidency indicates that many  heads  are going o  roll in EFCC as there may  be a major shake up in the Organisation.

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