The Senate on Wednesday rejected the nomination of Ibrahim Magu as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The Senate rejected the nomination following a letter by the Department of State Security (DSS) which upheld an earlier letter that Magu failed the integrity test and was unfit for the office.
The DSS letter which was sent to the Clerk of the Senate on Wednesday stressed that Mr Magu would constitute “a liability to the anti-corruption drive of the present administration”.
The recent letter by the DSS was sent to affirm its stance on an earlier letter sent to the Senate on Oct. 3, 2016 stating that Magu was unfit for the job.
The Senate had begun the screening of the acting EFCC boss as scheduled and Magu fielded question on different issues bordering on the operations of the commission.
Although some tooth aching questions were asked which Magu couldn’t answer, the turning point came when the letter from the DSS was re-introduced.
Sen. Dino Melaye who disclosed the content of the letter on the floor of the Senate asked the nominee if it would be okay to go on with the confirmation in view of all the allegations against him.
Mr Ibrahim Magu who did not take on the question directly however said in an interview after the screening that he was not given fair hearing by the DSS as he was never invited for questioning on any of the issues raised.
The letter from the DSS was signed by Folashade Bello for the Director General of DSS.
The DSS questioned the circumstances surrounding the return of Ibrahim Magu to the EFCC under the leadership of Ibrahim Lamorde who had been indicted of ‘corrupt tendencies’.
The security body reported that Magu lives a life style that was beyond his means: flying first class against the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari and associating with people being investigated by the commission.
It further stated that Magu lived in a N20 million per year apartment rented for him by an individual being investigated by the Commission – This allegation Magu however denied during his screening saying that the apartment which he occupied was rented by the Minister of FCT.
However the DSS letter further stated that the Acting EFCC boss had failed the integrity test which is a pre-requisite for screening any nominee.
The letter added that Magu embarked on many operations to settle personal scores and harassed individuals who had no real corrupt allegations against them.
“To cover his tracks, MAGU uses only his police cronies to execute operations. This coupled with discoveries that such Police cronies have acquired a lot of landed properties lend credence to the question about his integrity.
“In the light of the foregoing, MAGU has failed the integrity test and will eventually constitute a liability to the anti-corruption drive of the present administration,” the letter read.
When the question was put for the confirmation of Magu, the President of the Senate Dr. Bukola Saraki ruled in favour of the overwhelming dissenting voices.
In 2016 following the same report by the DSS, the Senate refused to screen Magu as the Chairman of the EFCC and sought more clarification from the DSS.
However, President Muhammadu Buhari in a letter sent to the Senate shortly before he embarked on medical vacation in January, cleared the Acting EFCC Boss of all indictments.
In the letter addressed to the President of the Senate, President Buhari expressed confidence that Magu carried out the anti-corruption crusade in line with the vision of the administration.
He wrote: “Distinguished Senators, in view of my conviction, there is need to maintain momentum of anti-graft fight, while I urge the Senate to reconsider Ibrahim Magu as substantive EFCC Chairman“, President Buhari wrote.
In that letter, President Buhari also held brief for the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal who was accused of corruption by a report of the National Assembly.
However, the letter by President Buhari infuriated the lawmakers who described the letter as “a funeral service for the anti-corruption fight of the current administration.
Following the letter by President Buhari, the Senate commenced screening of Acting Chairman on Wednesday but his nomination was rejected by the majority of the senators.