The forces opposed to the confirmation of Ibrahim Magu as substantive head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Friday released a new seven-page letter by the State Security Service, SSS, expatiating on the corruption allegations against the anti-corruption czar.
The letter, which was circulated to select Nigerian journalists by a faceless group, Advocacy Justice, was written by the SSS to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to further push its relentless campaign against Mr. Magu.
One of our editors was among journalists to which the document was sent.
The letter appeared to have been written in response to a request by Mr. Malami that the SSS should provide documentary evidence of its allegations against the acting EFCC chair.
In its response, the SSS, through one Folashade Bello, sent the minister at least 12 documents.
One of the documents contained minutes of the 20th plenary meeting of the Police Service Commission in 2010 which reportedly reprimanded Mr. Magu.
The eleven other documents tried to link Mr. Magu to Mohammed Umar, a retired air commodore being investigated by the SSS.
The documents were, however, not released alongside the cover letter discreetly circulated Friday.
The letter appeared to have been circulated to further embarrass Mr. Magu and possibly pressure President Muhammadu Buhari to remove him from his post.
The letter was undated.
The SSS, in controversial reports to the Senate, claimed Mr. Magu is tainted and should not be confirmed to head the nation’s top anti-corruption body.
The Nigerian Senate agreed and has, twice, declined to approve his appointment, a move that has drawn widespread condemnation across the country.
But the EFCC acting chair has forcefully responded to the allegations against him, saying the SSS is integrity-challenged. Read his explanations here.
BELOW IS THE NEWLY RELEASED SSS LETTER TO THE AGF
The Attorney General of Federation,
Federal Ministry of Justice,
Plot 7B, Shehu Shagari Way,
Abuja – FCT.
RE: REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTS/INFORMATION
Your letter with reference number .HAGF/ DSS/ 2016/ VOL.I/ 7 dated 19th December, 2016 on the above subject, refers.
2. I am directed to forward the attached documents in respect of the report earlier dispatched, by this Service to the Presidency on the Acting Chair,,an of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim MAGU. They are marked annexures A to L and are highlighted as follows:
i. Annexure A – This is a copy of minutes of the 20th Plenary Meeting of the Police Service Commission on 20th December, 2010, chaired by Mr. Parry B. 0. OSAYANDE (DIG/ Rtd) who was then Chairman of the( Commission. The minutes indicate that MAGU was indicted after a disciplinary process and awarded Severe Reprimand for “Action prejudicial to state security, Withholding of EFFC files, Sabotage, Unauthorized removal of EFCC files and Acts unbecoming of a Police Officer”. It is worthy to note here that Severe Reprimand is the second highest punishment to be given to an erring officer, other than compulsory retirement or dismissal from Service.
ii. Annexure ‘B’ – This is a copy of the confessional statement of Air Commodore Mohammmed UMAR (Rtd), a suspect hitherto detained and currently being prosecuted by the Service. The statement affirms his ownership of Valcour S.A Nigeria Limited, a company awarded the contract of securing and furnishing an official residence for Ibrahim MAGU by the FCTA. Investigation revealed that this was facilitated after MAGU was earlier shown the residence by one Uche ALEKA, a close business associate of UMAR, who was introduced to MAGU by the former.
iii. Annexure ‘C’ – This is a forged Memo which supposedly originated from the Office of the Vice President and addressed to Mr. President. This was recovered from the private residence of U1VIAR during a search operation by this Service. The document is a request for approval to commence further investigation into financial activities of Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe KACHIKWU. Also attached to the Memo are two (2) genuine investigation reports by EFCC on the Honourable Minister, dated 24th March, 2016 & 13th April, 2016 and duly signed by 1VIAGU. One of the two (2) attachments indicates that the original investigation report earlier was purportedly received in the VP’s office by one Folabo KAY.
iv. Ann.exure ‘D’ – This is a letter from the Office of the Vice President affirming that Annexure “C” is a forged document.
v. Annexure E – This is a copy of Progress report with reference number SH/ COS/ 24/ A/ 7277 dated 25th May, 2016 on NNPC/ NLG Brass Investment Accounts in Nigerian Commercial Banks from Chief of Staff to Mr. President, Abba KYARI to the Acting EFCC Chairman. The letter is an official/ classified document of the EFCC which was duly received by the Commission as indicated by the stamp on the document. However, it was recovered at UMAR’s residence.
vi. Annexure ‘F’ – These are photocopies of Managers’ cheques of First Bank PLC and Zenith Bank PLC, issued in favour of EFCC Recovery Funds Account on 13/ 05/2016 and 16/65/ 2016, respectively. These are all sensitive official documents of the EFCC found in UMAR’s residence during the search.
vii. Annexure G A classified letter from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) to the EFCC Chairman titled Re: Request to Freeze Accounts Messers Bebey: Merchant Ltd and 20 others, dated 7th March, 2016. This document was also duly received by EFCC but found in Commodore U1VIAR’s house during the search.
viii. Annexure ‘H’ – A document which emanated from Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and addressed to the EFCC Chairman on 6th May, 2016 with the subject, Re: Stop Debit Order on all NNPC Accounts and Subsidiaries- A case for Joint Venture & NNPC Pension Funds Accounts. The document was recovered at UMAR’s residence.
ix. Annexure I – NNPC Letter GED/ F86A/ 08.26 dated 5th May, 2016 addressed to the EFCC Chairman and titled Re: Stop Debit Order on all NNPC Accounts and Subsidiaries. This was also discovered during the search of UMAR’s residence.
x. Annexure J – This is a copy of NNPC correspondence with reference number GED/ F86A/ 08.26 dated May 5th, 2016 and titled Re: Stop Debit Order on all NNPC Accounts and Subsidiaries- Transfer of FCT Balances to NNPC’s TSA Accounts, addressed to the EFCC Chairman. The document was found in UMAR’s residence.
xi. Annexure ”K’ – A copy of an NNPC letter with reference number GED/ F&A/ 08.26 dated May 5th, 2016 and titled Re: Stop Debit on all NNPC Accounts and Subsidiaries- Critical Accounts for immediate operations to the EFCC Chairman. The document was also recovered during the search of UMAR’s house.
xii. Annexure L – Copy of Confessional Statement by UMAR to the Service stating that his trip to Maiduguri for condolence visit to Ibrahim MAGU, sequel to the loss of a close relative, was made on behalf of the Presidential Committee on Audit of Arms Purchase. Cross examination of the Chairman of the Committee, AVM John ODE (Rtd) revealed that the committee did not send any of its members on such an assignment. The visit of UMAR to MAGU is therefore assessed as an expression of their close sinister relationship at the detriment of National Security interests.
3. An officer appointed as Ag. Chairman of EFCC should by all means be one of impeccable credentials, with proven integrity and capacity to lead the nation’s fight against graft in high and low places. Thus far, it is evident from MAGU’s antecedents that he is by no means that kind of
His relationship with Umar MOHAMMED which involved disclosure of very sensitive and classified official documents in his possession shows lack of professionalism and assails his integrity. Moreso, for an officer who was indicted and nearly dismissed six (6) years ago, to again be involved in similar circumstances, it is clear that MAGU is a perennial offender and cannot change.
4. Also worthy of note is the fact that MAGU exhibited a total lack of judgment where it matters most. He accepted to move into a tastily furnished accommodation without any scrutiny of how it was furnished. This is curious and speaks volumes of his personality.
5. The recovery of sensitive and classified documents from the residence of UMAR further underlays his close affinity to MAGU and an apparent penchant for sabotaging official processes and administrative protocols, just to further the latter’s personal material and pecuniary agenda. Such mutually beneficial relationships as with UMAR, who by his confession, approaches ‘clients’ for possible exploitation, favours and associated returns is unprecedented and very damning for an anti-graft top official. It has exposed MAGU as a fraudulent officer and betrays the high confidence reposed in him by Mr. President.
6. A further demonstration of MAGU’s questionable credibility as an untainted anti-corruption official is his failed bid to settle personal scores with one Stanley Inye LAWSON b lacing him on Security Watch Action. It was however discovered that LAWSON was actually working in the interest of the Federal Government and the Action was subsequently expunged.
7. This reinforces the view that MAGU may continue to exploit his official position, if confirmed as EFCC Chairman and indulge in other unprofessional and criminal conducts for personal aggrandizement contrary to his oath of office.
8. Accept the assurances of the high consideration and esteem of the DGSS, please.
For: Director-General, SSS
BELOW IS MR MAGU’S RESPONSE TO THE ALLEGATIONS
EFCC/EC/JUS/07/263 21st December, 2016
THE HONOURABLE ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF THE Federation & MINISTER OF JUSTICE
Federal Ministry of Justice,
Shehu Shagari Way,
RE: REQUEST FOR COMMENTS
RE: REPORT BY THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE SERVICES
I most respectfully refer to your letter referenced HAGF/EFCC/2016/Vol.1/23 dated 19th December, 2016, asking me to respond within 48 hours to the allegations contained in a report written by the Department of State Service, DSS, and which provided the basis for the non-consideration of my confirmation on December 15, 2016, by the Senate.
2. Having carefully considered all the issues, I hereby present a point-by-point response as follows:
i. Missing EFCC Files
It is true that my residence was searched on the orders of Mrs. Farida Waziri, shortly after she succeeded Mallam Nuhu Ribadu as Chairman of the EFCC and some documents relating to cases under investigation were found in my house. At the time of the raid, I was yet to formally hand over to my successor, Umar Sanda, as head of the Economic Governance Unit.
My schedule at the time warranted that I work round the clock and it was impossible to conclude all assignments without working at home. The documents found in my house were actually found in my office bag where I kept documents relating to investigations. I was in the process of handing over and it would be wrong to suggest that I willfully kept the Commission’s files at home.
Nevertheless, the incident was thoroughly investigated by the police as I was placed on suspension without pay for 20 months. But in the end, I was reprimanded, recalled and promoted to Assistant Commissioner of Police.
It is important sir, to draw your attention to the fact that some of us that worked closely with Ribadu were victimized after his exit. And my ordeal was orchestrated as punishment for being the chief investigative officer for most of the high profile cases involving politically exposed persons some of whom became very influential in government at the time.
ii. Return to EFCC under Lamorde
I was Assistant Commissioner of Police in Charge of Operations at the Anambra State Police Command when I was recalled to the EFCC in 2012. I did not lobby to return to the EFCC. It is preposterous for anyone to suggest that I was recalled to do a hatchet job for Lamorde as alleged in the DSS Report. My job schedule as Deputy Director, Department of Internal Affairs, under Lamorde, was simply handling issues of professional responsibility in the Commission. I had no inputs in core operations duties of the Commission.
iii. Tenancy of My Official Residence
I live in the official residence of the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). This accommodation, contrary to the report of the DSS is not my private home, neither was it rented and furnished for me by Commodore Umar Mohammed (rtd). It was rented and furnished by the Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory through the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council, under the safe house scheme.
It is also false that the house was rented for N20million per annum and furnished for N43million. The entire cost for both two-year rent and the furnishing of the house is N39.628million.
Details of the transaction are contained in the contract award letter and payment schedule which are attached to this letter.
iv. Expensive Air Travels
Honourable Minister, the claim that I have a penchant for expensive air travels in a private jet belonging to Commodore Mohammed is baseless The two times I can recall travelling in Commodore Umar’s aircraft, were on a trip from Kano to Abuja, and Abuja to Maiduguri. In the first instance, I had gone to Kano on an official assignment with two of my directors, and Mohammed who was on his way back to Abuja offered us a ride in his jet. The second occasion was when I was going to see my sick mother in Maiduguri. These, for me, were harmless gesture as we were both members of the presidential investigative committee on arms procurement. At the time I had no knowledge that he was under investigation for any alleged crimes.
Claims that I flew in Mohammed’s jet to Maiduguri in company of the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Nnamdi Okonkwo is false. I have never flown in a private aircraft with any managing director of any bank let alone one that was under investigation by my agency. I have no personal relationship whatsoever with him.
v. High Profile/Dual Lifestyle
The allegation that I live a flamboyant lifestyle is also surprising to me. While it is true that I did travel first class on Emirates Airline to Saudi Arabia for Umrah, this action to the best of my knowledge, did not contravene the directive of Mr. President on First Class travels as suggested by the DSS Report.
My trip to Saudi Arabia was a private journey to perform my religious obligation and it was not financed with public funds. More importantly, my decision to fly first class was not borne out of quest for luxury but compelled by necessity. The trip was made during the last ten days of the Ramadan and other classes of ticket were not available.I had no other choice
That I flew first class in one instance is not enough evidence to suggest an extravagant lifestyle as alleged by the DSS Report. It is also not enough to suggest a dual personality. Any one that has associated closely with me will attest to the fact that I am not known for ostentatious living. And my new office as acting chairman of the EFCC has not changed this.
vi. Mutually Beneficial Relationship with Commodore Mohammed Umar (rtd)
Sir, it is important to situate my relationship with Commodore Mohammed Umar (rtd), in proper perspective. Our paths crossed when we became members of the Presidential Committee on the investigation on arms procurement. He was instrumental in getting some of the information that helped the committee to make significant breakthrough in its assignment.
Beyond that, the relationship between Umar and myself is one of professional acquaintance, devoid of issues of conflict of interest. So, it comes to me with shock, the imputation by the DSS that we have a “mutually beneficial relationship”. This appears suggestive that Mohammed and I were involved in activities that could be said to be untoward. I certainly have no knowledge of such activities.
The claim that EFCC documents, including EFCC letters addressed to the Vice President and being investigation reports on the activities of Emmanuel Kachikwu and his brother Demebi Kachikwu, were found in his home during a search by the DSS came to me as a surprise. If that is correct, he should be made to disclose how he came by such documents. I never discussed my official duties with him let alone give him documents pertaining to investigations being conducted by the Commission.
Interestingly, Mohammed was detained for several months by the DSS. In all those months, did he claim that I mandated him to commit any crime or that I was an accomplice to any crime? If there is any such claim, I will wholeheartedly like to be confronted with the allegation.
It is interesting to note that when Mohammed was eventually charged to court, the charges against him were money laundering and illegal possession of firearms, and nothing related to my purported “shady” relationship with him.
vii. Perceived Reluctance to Arraign Vice Marshall Adesola Amosun
The DSS Report that the reason EFCC delayed the arraignment of a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshall Adesola Amosun, was because Mohammed never wanted Amosun to be prosecuted is astonishing. Anyone familiar with the EFCC under my watch knows that I perform my duties with the highest sense of responsibility. The reason Amosun was not arraigned when the likes of Alex Badeh and Umar were arraigned was because he cooperated with the Commission in terms of assisting the process of recovering the proceeds of crime.
Indeed, among the suspects arrested over the arms procurement scandal, he was most cooperative. The Commission recovered N2.835billion cash from him, aside from property worth One Billion Five Hundred and Eighty One Million Naira (N1,581, 000, 000), Two Million One Hundred and Fifty Thousand United States Dollars ($2,150, 000) and One Million Pounds Sterling (£1, 000, 000).
Since a key focus of the investigation was to recover as much proceeds of crime as possible, the Commission took its time to ensure it had recovered what was possible before arraigning the suspect in court. This had nothing to do with the wish of any individual. Moreover, the suspect has since been arraigned before a court of competent jurisdiction.
viii. Alleged Vendetta Against Stanley Lawson
The suggestion by the DSS Report that Stanley Lawson, a former Group Executive Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was placed on a watch list, to settle scores with him is strange. It may interest you to know that I do not know Stanley Lawson personally and could not be settling personal scores by framing somebody that I do not know.
Lawson’s encounter with the EFCC is in relation to the investigation into the mismanagement of $118million public funds for electioneering campaign involving former petroleum resources minister, Diezani Alison Madueke. It was discovered that he made payment of $25million into Fidelity Bank and also facilitated the purchase of Ogeyi Place Le Meridien Hotel in Port Harcourt for Mrs. Alison Madueke, for which he collected Ninety Four Million Five Hundred and Sixteen Thousand Naira (N94, 516,000) as commission. Lawson was arrested and he made a refund of the N94.5million traced to him. He was never placed on any watch list.
ix. Work through Police Cronies in EFCC
I do not understand what the report meant by working with cronies. If what was implied is that I have preferred officers that I work with and who go about their work in unethical manner, my response is that nothing of such exists in the EFCC. Officers who work with me know that the easiest way to lose your job is to be found to be involved in unethical or corrupt activities. Indeed, when I assumed office as acting chairman, my first action was to return police officers with integrity issues back to the Nigeria Police Force. If the DSS finds that there are police officers in the EFCC who are working closely with me and have properties that their incomes cannot support, the Service is at liberty to expose them.
Honourable Minister, Sir, I invite you to take notice of the fact that the DSS authored two separate vetting reports on me, one referenced SV.114/3 addressed to the Clerk of the National Assembly and the other referenced SV.114/3 addressed to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate). Both letters were dated 3rd October, 2016, and signed by the same Officer, Folashade Bello, on behalf of the Director General. While one of the reports advised the senate against my confirmation, the other asked it to favourably consider my confirmation. The two reports emanating from the same agency raises questions of sincerity and motive.
You will want to find out why they came up with two conflicting reports on the same subject on the same day.
It is important to note that in all this, I was not given the opportunity of fair hearing.
Above all sir, I am persuaded by my conviction in my innocence that in all the issues supposedly raised against me, no one has accused me of receiving gratification to act against my conscience or the interest of the country.
I have attached to this letter all supporting documents and materials that would enable you arrive at fair position on all the issues raised.
4. Be assured of my usual respect and highest consideration.
Ag. EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN