Saturday 14 November 2015

The Nemesis Called Magu - By Kunle Somorin

The appointment of Ibrahim Magu as chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is unsettling to tainted political and dubious business moguls, writes KUNLE SOMORIN.

Last Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari asked Ibrahim Lamorde, until then the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to proceed on terminal leave. In his place, PMB named the taciturn police intelligence office and Assistant Commissioner of Police, Ibrahim Magu, to step him into his shoes in acting capacity.

Ordinarily, it should elicit no strange reaction because of the appointee’s long association with the anti-corruption agency. Magu was one of the earliest recruits of Nuhu Ribadu as pioneer chairman of EFCC. He was the original head of the Economic Governance Unit (EGU) of the EFCC.

On the desk, Magu made a legion of enemies from the political and business communities. He is the brain behind many high profile investigations of many former governors including Peter Odili of Rivers, James Ibori of Delta and Bukola Saraki of Kwara, among many others. He also played a critical role in the demystification of the sleaze in the Police under Tafa Balogun. His interrogation led to the conviction of the huge framed former Inspector-general.

Also both the late former Bayelsa governor DSP Alamesieagha and convicted banker Ceceila Ibru of Oceanic Bank will never forget their interrogation by the Borno-State born Magu. Magu is not a run-of-the-mill policeman. A recipient a trained financial crimes investigator with background in forensic accounting, and training at the FBI institute and the London Metropolitan Police, he worked with Ribadu to jail his brother-in-law and former Bank of the North chief, Shettima Bulama. Bulama was later pardoned by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Built in the frame of a featherweight boxer, his physique bellies the grandiose intellectual competence and inquisitorial capacity in him. Said to be the toughest interrogator the anti-graft commission has had in its history, Magu is the ultimate nemesis of many politicians and dubious business moguls.

Many former governors under investigation caved in and begged not to be interrogated by him any longer. “We used to plead with Ribadu that he should not allow Magu to grill us, that we would rather be grilled by another officer.”

Once, he reportedly told his boss, Nuhu Ribadu, who asked him to release someone from detention and ask him to come back.

“Magu, while saluting Ribadu, said, ‘We shall release him, Sir, after he has answered our questions, ’a       source said. “That was how tough he was with suspects. He was not easily moved by emotions”

His proclivity to get to the roots of all matters pitted him against men and women of power who conspired to give him an early ouster from EFCC. Magu paid heavily for his stubborn adherence to professionalism. Arrested on August 4, 2008 for allegedly hiding EFCC files and a computer containing classified documents at his Abuja residence under Mrs. Farida Waziri, the detective in Magu was herded to detention and subsequently re-deployed to the police.

Magu spearheaded the investigations of Senate President, Bukola Saraki’s role in the collapse of Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria. The evidences he collated against James Ibori, former Governor of Delta State, were used to convict the Oghara-born politician for money laundering in the United Kingdom in 2013.

To cow him, Magu was posted to Delta state to temper him. He understood the ploy and snorted “Why don’t you just tie me up and shoot me rather than post me to Ibori’s domain? It was a cynical posting and there were fears that it was a deliberate plot to get rid of him. Magu was later suspended and went without salaries for several months, but remained unbowed and uncowed.

Magu may have made several enemies while at the EFCC but his resilience has served him in good stead.

Prior to his EFCC posting, Magu served in Bosnia under the United Nations peacekeeping police operation. He is a member of the14-man panel is investigating how some of the retired military chiefs spent the votes for arms while they were in office.

The panel, inaugurated by Babagana Monguno, the national security adviser, will unearth among others things the $466.5m contract to weaponise six Puma helicopters by Jonathan administration; N3billion contract for the supply of six units of K-38 patrol boats to the disbanded Presidential Implementation Committee on Maritime Security (PICOMSS) and theft of over €200m by PICOMMS, including the purchase of two private jets.

Other allegations were: the $9.3m cash-for-arms deal seized by South Africa; whereabouts of $1billion loan approved by the 7th senate for arms purchase to fight Boko Haram; what became of unaccessed N7b budget for the military and the contract for the rehabilitation of the Military Reference Hospital in Kaduna.

The revelations from these deals may be the starting point for Magu’s EFCC. Expected to receive tremendous from PMB whose anti-corruption credentials aided to power, Magu’s tenure has become a threat to the oil cabals, unscrupulous politicians, duplicitous business people and corrupt public officials. Under him, the EFCC looks poised for a return to the days of Ribadu.

 Via - Leadership

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