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Buhari Considers Sack, Prosecution Of Ibrahim Magu

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Barring a last-minute reprieve, Ibrahim Magu, acting Chair­man, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), may not only be on his way out of office but also may be looking towards days of accounting for alleged infrac­tions preferred against him by Abubakar Malami, the Attor­ney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Saturday INDEPENDENT can exclusively report.

Impeccable presidency sources said on Friday that President Muhammadu Bu­hari had given Malami approv­al to investigate and prosecute Magu following his memo­randum, where he itemized 22 weighty allegations against the EFCC chairman, who has occupied the office for nearly five years in an acting capacity.

The sources said the EFCC chairman will temporarily hand over the anti-graft agency to the next most senior person, Mohammed Umar Abba, Direc­tor of Operations of the agency.

Malami had also included a shortlist of three candidates for consideration to replace Magu. Our sources said FCT Commis­sioner of Police, Bala Ciroma, may ultimately replace him, be­ing the most favored among the three names Malami sub­mitted to the president.

One of the sources said the president wanted the panel to investigate the authenticity of the property and proxy alle­gations against Magu, noting that “because of the weight of the allegations, and the kind of person managing the EFCC, the president wouldn’t want to take any decision in a hurry. So he made sure a crack team is assembled to look into the matter holistically.”

According to him, Ayo Sala­mi, former President of Court of Appeal, is heading the panel with the offices of National Se­curity Adviser (NSA); Director-General, Department of State Services (DSS); Director Gen­eral, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), the Police, and Attorney General of the Fed­eration as members.

According to the source, the panel has two weeks to submit its report to the president, but had already done a week.

Malami, had in his mem­orandum to the president, made allegations bordering on financial malfeasances in failure to declare actual mon­ey recovered from looters. He also accused Magu of gross in­subordination, refusing direc­tives from the commission’s supervisory ministry; and as a result, the Federal Govern­ment has come under severe attack and embarrassment on account of odium stemming from poorly pursued investiga­tions. The AGF’s memo made strong innuendos purporting that Magu has made himself a willing tool in the hands of politicians thereby reducing the sterling reputation EFCC once enjoyed.

Sources at the presidency insisted on Friday that Buhari has indeed signed off on the memo only awaiting imple­mentation.

“By the recommendation, Magu should be eased out of office, and prosecuted on the strength of the allegations made against him,” explained a presidency source to the newspaper, who said the presi­dent was livid after reading the memo.

Adding further, the sources said that had the matter rest­ed squarely on just Malami’s memo, maybe a form of re­prieve could have been worked out for the commission’s chair­man.

“Malami was extensively debriefed on the matter. Securi­ty agencies were also involved in the matter and they all came back with damning verdicts,” the source added.

So far, the presidency has refused to say much on the matter.

In a text message response by Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to the President, Mallam Garba She­hu, asking for confirmation on whether Magu will be eased out, the presidential spokes­man simply said, “I don’t know the answer to your question.”

Several attempts at reaching Dele Oyewale, Head, Media and Publicity, EFCC, yielded no re­sult as his phones continued ringing without the calls being picked up. However, another source within the commission told the newspaper that there cannot be any official response from EFCC unless matters are directed at them.

But as also learned, Magu is said not to be leaving anything to chance. It was learned that some of his backers with a link at the Presidential Villa have been putting in words for the embattled anti-graft’s czar, tell­ing Mr. President that Magu is being hounded by corrupt politicians.

One of the results of the alleged brokering resulted in Magu being seen at the Aso Rock mosque where he ob­served the Jumat with Presi­dent Buhari.

As learnt, the EFCC boss was there to have an audience with the president.

It was, however, unclear if the mission succeeded as at the time of filing this report.

It would be recalled that in 2016, the Senate declined to confirm Magu’s appointment as EFCC chairman, citing a Department of State Services (DSS) report, which revealed unsavory activities. Despite the Senate’s rejection of Magu, President Buhari re-nominat­ed him, but the Senate again rejected him.

Politics

I’m leaving PDP for APC – Gov Umahi of Ebonyi State

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The Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, told the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party in Abuja on Tuesday that he was leaving the party.

He said he would join the ruling All Progressives Congress which he claimed would protect the interest of the South-East in the 2023 elections.

Our correspondent gathered that Umahi told the members of the National Working Committee of the PDP that his decision to join  the APC was irrevocable.

The members of the PDP NWC, who were led to the meeting by its National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, were said to have tried in vain to convince the governor not to abandon the party.

Apart from Secondus, among those that were at the meeting at the Ebonyi Governor’s Lodge in Abuja were Deputy National Secretary, Agbo Emmanuel; National Organising Secretary, Austin Akobondu; Financial Secretary, Abdullahi  Maibasira;  National Women Leader, Mariya Waziri  and Senator Sulieman Nazif.

The governor was said to be friendly when he received the PDP delegation, but stuck to his decision to leave the PDP when the issue came up.

It was gathered that the PDP delegation impressed it upon the governor that there was no need leaving the PDP for the APC, which they argued had become unpopular.

Sources at the meeting, however, said the governor was not convinced, insisting that  the APC was planning to zone the 2023 Presidency to the South-East.

He was said to have promised to stay in the PDP if the party could make a pronouncement that it would zone the Presidency to the same zone.

One of the sources said, “I think his (governor’s) mind was made up. We told him there was no need for him to abandon the party that had made him a deputy governor, state chairman of the party, two-time governor and all that. But he refused.

 “He wanted us to unilaterally zone the office of the Presidency to his area. We cannot do that. Parties are not run that way. He told us he was leaving. That is what we got from him.’’

When contacted, Secondus confirmed that the party’s leadership met with Umahi.

 He, however, refused to declared the details of the meeting, insisting that the meeting was on ‘‘national issues.’’

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Crime

We Spent ₦2.2 Billion On Prayers Against Boko Haram – Adariko

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An Economic and Financial Crimes Commission investigating officer, Adariko Michael, on Tuesday, alleged that N2.2 billion was spent on prayers in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia to win the war against Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria.
Mr. Michael was giving evidence as the first prosecution witness (PW1) in the trial of Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser (ONSA) to President Goodluck Jonathan, in the alleged two billion dollars arms deal fraud.

Others charged with Mr. Dasuki, a retired colonel, are a former General Manager with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Aminu Baba-kusa, Acacia Holdings Limited, and Reliance Referral Hospital Limited.

The EFCC charged them with 32 counts bordering on misappropriation, criminal breach of trust, dishonest release and receiving various sums of money before Husseini Baba-Yusuf.

Led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, Mr Micheal said N750 million was allegedly transferred from the ONSA special account to Reliance Referral Hospital Limited’s account with First Bank.

He added that N650 million was also transferred to Acacia Holding Limited’s account with EcoBank, while another N600 million and N200 million were transferred to the company’s account with UBA.

“Between September 27, 2013, and April 16, 2015, N50 million was credited to Reliance Referral Hospital’s account.

“Based on responses from the banks involved, as investigating officer, we found out that money was transferred to several individuals and companies.

“When we went through the account statement, we asked the second defendant (Aminu Babakusa) the reason for this.

“He informed us that the money was used to hire clerics to pray for the nation as regards Boko Haram crisis.

“When we asked him to provide the names, contacts and phone numbers of the clerics he hired to pray for the nation, he mentioned only two,” he said.

Mr Dasuki spent four years in detention, following his arrest in 2015 over alleged misappropriation of N2.2 billion meant for arms purchase during his time as National Security Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan

After the Federal Government had consistently failed to honor court orders granting him bail, including an ECOWAS court judgment in 2016, he was finally released on December 24, 2019

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Politics

This is why we froze accounts of 20 EndSARS protesters – CBN reveals

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) sought an ex parte order to freeze the account of 20 members of the EndSARS movement in what has been generating a whirlpool of reaction. The reason for the action has now been unraveled as contained in a case with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1384/2020, filed before Justice A. R. Mohammed of Abuja Federal High Court Legit.ng reports

The affected individuals have been identified as Bolatito Racheal Oduala, Chima David Ibebunjoh, Mary Doose Kpengwa, Nicholas Ikhalea Osazele, Ebere Idibie, Akintomide Lanre Yusuf, Uhuo Ezenwanyi Promise, and Mosopefoluwa Odeseye.The affected individuals have been identified as Bolatito Racheal Oduala, Chima David Ibebunjoh, Mary Doose Kpengwa, Nicholas Ikhalea Osazele, Ebere Idibie, Akintomide Lanre Yusuf, Uhuo Ezenwanyi Promise, and Mosopefoluwa Odeseye. Others are Saadat Temitope Bibi, Adegoke Pamilerin Yusif, Umoh Grace Ekanem, Babatunde Victor Segun, Mulu Louis Teghenan, Mary Oshifowora, Winifred Akpevweoghene Jacob, Victor Solomon, Idunu A. Williams, Gatefield Nigeria Limited, Bassey Victor Israel and Wisdom Busaosowo Obi.

Read Also: #EndSARS Protest, a fallout of COVID-19 Pandemic, says UN

It has now been revealed that the apex bank, while requesting the court order, argued that the funding of the EndSARS movement might have emanated from terrorist activities, The Punch reports.

CBN said the money flow into the account of the EndSARS protesters was found ominous following investigation by head of the economic intelligence unit, Joseph Omayuku. “There is a grave allegation that the defendants are involved in suspected terrorism financing via their bank accounts in contravention of the provisions of extant laws and regulations. The aforesaid transactions undertaken by the defendants, using their bank accounts, can cause significant economic and security harm to the public and the Federal Republic of Nigeria if left unchecked.”

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