- AGF mum on Magu, SGF’s probe
There may be a silver lining for embattled acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, whose nomination for the post was reported to have been turned down by the Senate as Senate leader, Mohammed Ali Ndume is now saying that he has not been rejected.
Ndume told State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday that it was wrong to say that the nominee had been rejected when in fact the Senate was yet to consider the request by the President.
According to him, the matter had only been stepped down following a letter received by the Senate from the Department of State Security (DSS) whose content he said needed to be clarified.
Asked why Magu’s nomination was rejected by Senate, he said: “No, no no. Let me say categorically that the Senate did not reject Ibrahim Magu as the chairman.
“What happened was that when we selected his confirmation for Thursday, then we had an issue or a letter from the Department of State Security (DSS) that could not allow us to continue with the confirmation without further clarifications.
“So, we now 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. So, I want that to come out clearly.
“We specifically asked chairman media to issue a statement. What we said was that on that Thursday, the Senate could not go ahead with the confirmation of Mr. Ibrahim Magu and that we are in possession of a letter from the Department of State Service which requires clarification from Mr. President, who is the head of the government. That was what happened.
“Even if the rejection is going to come, it is not going to come from the Senate because we have not done anything anyway.”
When reminded that the Senate spokesperson had categorically announced the rejection, Ali Ndume added: “I hope we are not arguing.
“I listened because of this controversy that can come out. I’m part of the persons that wrote the short press statement which states that the Senate cannot continue with the confirmation.
“It is different from saying that the Senate has rejected. In fact we have referred the other four to the committee.”
Speaking on the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF) Babachir Lawal who had been recommended for sack by the Senate, Ndume affirmed that it was just a recommendation by the Senate and not an order on the President.
He stated: “It’s not an order we are giving. The Senate resolution is a recommendation, it’s not a law.
“What the Senate considered is work in progress because it was an interim report.
“It is the same public that are interested and worried to know what we have done as a Senate about those allegations.
“The committee issued an interim report and the interim report seemed to indict the SGF. The consequences of that indictment are what they recommended, but we are not there yet because the report itself is interim. Ok? We take the interim report, we face the public until the whole investigation us concluded.
“I hear coming from the SGF that he has not been given a fair hearing. So, the hearing has not finished. We can give him ample of time to go before the committee and clear himself.”
Meanwhile, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, met with President Buhari at the State House on Monday ostensibly over the directive by the President to investigate top government functions linked to corruption.
When approached by correspondents on his mission, he declined to speak.
Following persistent media reports linking top members of his administration to corruption, President Buhari had on Sunday ordered the Malami to investigate such people linked to corrupt practices.
This was according to the Senior Special Assistant on media and publicity, Garba Shehu in a two paragraph statement released in Abuja.
It read: “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.”
Since the advent of this administration, there have been growing calls for the president to investigate Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari and more recently, the Secretary to Government of the Federation Babachir David as well as Magu over corruption allegations against them.