Senate Leader Ndume Seeks To Save Magu, Visits Buhari

The report of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), will decide if the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, will retain his job.

The Presidency had, in a statement on Sunday, said President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered the AGF to investigate all top government officials accused of corruption.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, in the statement, said any official found guilty of the allegations levelled against him or her would not escape prosecution.

“The attention of the Presidency has been drawn to a number of reports in the media, in which various accusations of corruption have been levelled against some top officials in the administration.

“In that regard, President Buhari has instructed the Attorney-General of the Federation to investigate the involvement of any top government officials accused of any wrong-doing. If any of them are liable, they will not escape prosecution,” the statement had read.

The Senate had, on Thursday last week, refused to confirm Magu as the EFCC chairman as requested by Buhari, citing a negative “security report” on the anti-graft agency’s boss by the Department of State Services.

The DSS, in the report, had said Magu had failed integrity test and would be unfit to drive the anti-graft fight of the government.

Besides Magu, other top government officials recently accused of corruption include the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir Lawal, and the Chief of Staff to the President, Mr. Abba Kyari.

It was gathered that Malami was expected to forward the reports on his investigations to the President in January, which would determine the fate of the government officials.

It was learnt that the Senate Majority Leader, Senator Ali Ndume; the National Security Adviser, Major Gen. Babagana Monguno; and a former Chairman of the EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, had been making moves to save Magu by reaching out to the President.

Findings, however, showed that the President had yet to take a final decision on the report of the DSS, which stated that Magu was not eligible for the post.

It was gathered that a private meeting between Buhari and Ndume on Monday was part of efforts to save the EFCC boss.

A reliable source, who was privy to the meeting, said that the President was keen on conducting an independent investigation into the allegations against Magu in the DSS report.

The source added that the findings of the investigation would determine if Magu would be dropped or not.

The source stated, “Ndume is very close to the President and one of his closest supporters. The Senate Leader’s visit to Buhari was private but Magu’s issue was raised.

“Ndume made the President to understand that there is a conspiracy against the man but the truth will always prevail and evil will never succeed over evil. Somebody must be there to do the job and it cannot be business as usual.

“Ndume told the President that the Senate had not rejected Magu. He also told the President that the content of the DSS report was not an indictment but mere allegations, the reason why the President ordered the Attorney-General of the Federation to conduct an investigation.”

But Ndume, in an interview with State House correspondents after the meeting with the president on Monday,  said there was no truth in the reports that the Senate  rejected the nomination of Magu as the EFCC chairman.

He said what the Senate had done was to step down Magu’s screening until issues surrounding the security report concerning him were cleared.

Ndume stated, “Let me say categorically that the Senate did not reject Ibrahim Magu as the chairman (of the EFCC).

“What happened was that we slated his confirmation for Thursday. Then, we had an issue of a letter from the Department of State Services that could not allow us to continue with the confirmation without further clarifications.

“So, we then concluded that since we have a letter that we cannot ignore, we cannot do the confirmation. So, it was not that we sat down to take a decision that we have rejected Ibrahim Magu. I want that to come out clearly.

When reminded that the Senate spokesperson said the Senate rejected Magu and would return the nomination to the President, Ndume said the position was not correct.

“I was part of the persons that wrote the short press statement which stated that the Senate cannot continue with the confirmation. It is different from saying that the Senate has rejected him. In fact, we have referred the other four nominees to the committee,” Ndume said.

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