The Senate has yet again rejected the nomination of Ibrahim Magu as chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) after the senators voted against his confirmation.
For the second time in three months, the members of the Nigerian Senate during a plenary session on Wednesday, rejected the nomination of Ibrahim Magu as the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, after the Department of State Security Service (DSS) reaffirmed its position that the nominee lacks integrity to lead the country’s anti-corruption agency.
Ibrahim Magu was rejected on Wednesday, after appearance before the Senate for his confirmation hearing during which Dino Melaye raised the DSS report dated March 14.
“In the light of the foregoing, Magu has failed the integrity test and will eventually constitute a liability to the anti-corruption stand of the current government.” the SSS report read by Dino Melaye, stated.
Although Magu had answered to the satisfaction of some lawmaker’s earlier questions he was asked, senators challenged his suitability given the report against him by the DSS.
While answering questions from the lawmakers, Magu questioned the credibility of the DSS which he said dispatched two reports on him with varying contents same day. “What do you say about credibility of that agency?”he queried.
He said he was never invited by the DSS to defend the allegations against him. “There was no fair hearing,” he said.
While facing Senator Melaye, he said, “We were fighting corruption together before you came to this house and turned against us.”
Outspoken Kogi lawmaker, Dino Melaye, had raised the DSS report after Magu had answered wide range of questions and it appeared he was going to scale the Senate hurdle.
As if the Senate was staging a drama already well-rehearsed, the body then moved away from seemingly soft questions, leaving the ground for questions relating to the DSS report.
Barnabas Gemade and Abiodun Olujimi, among others, asked Magu to defend his suitability and explain why he should be confirmed after “all these allegations”.
The fresh report was basically reaffirmation of the earlier one, containing same allegations that bother on the nominee’s residence, relationship with Mohammed Umar and past record as head of the EFCC’s economic governance unit.
Earlier before the fresh report was raised, Magu had absolved himself of culpability in respect of the DSS allegations in the earlier report – though he had wanted to dodge the question that he should defend himself.
“I would answer but I don’t want to say something that will cause bad relationship between sister agencies,” said Magu, explaining he had responded to the allegations in writing.
However, Senate President Bukola Saraki insisted he must answer “so that we will be guided”. Then, Magu said it was true he was reprimanded and detained after official documents were found with him outside office.
“If you don’t carry official files (to your house), you can’t do the work,” said Magu, explaining the nature of his work, heading “two offices” at the time. He said after his travail he had been promoted twice.
Also on the allegation that he resides in a house rented for him by Mohammed Umar, a retired air commodore accused of corrupt practices, Magu said “that’s not true”, adding that his official residence at Maitama was rented for him by the FCT authorities for ease of his work, following intervention of an undisclosed senior official in the presidency.
“I was not part of the process and I don’t know how much was paid. I don’t even know when the rent started or will expire,” he said.
Magu also told the lawmakers he could not specifically give the actual amount the EFCC had recovered to date.
After the questioning, the Senate President put Magu’s confirmation to a voice vote. Majority of the lawmakers said No to his confirmation and the Senate therefore rejected it.
The presidency will now have to decide the next line of action, either to replace Magu, re-nominate him again or leave him in acting capacity as EFCC chairman.
Credits: Premium Times / NGR Senate