President Muhammadu Buhari has reacted to the ongoing investigation of the suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu.
Buhari in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, explained why he approved the suspension of Magu from office.
“A series of documented allegations were made against the Ag. Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. Following a preliminary review of the allegations leveled against the Ag. Chairman and several other members of his staff, there were grounds for a detailed investigation to be conducted.
“Hence, an investigative panel was constituted in compliance with the extant laws governing the convening of such a body. As is the proper procedure, when allegations are made against the chief executive of an institution, and in this case an institution that ought to be seen as beyond reproach, the chief executive has to step down from his post and allow for a transparent and unhindered investigation.
“The EFCC does not revolve around the personality of an individual, and as such cannot be seen through the prism of any individual. Therefore, the suspension of Mr. Ibrahim Magu, allows the institution to continue carrying out its mandate without the cloud of investigation hanging over its head.
“The EFCC has many good, hardworking men and women who are committed to its ideal and ensuring that the wealth of our country isn’t plundered and wherein there is an act of misappropriation such person(s) are brought to justice. Meanwhile, Mr Magu is being availed the opportunity to defend himself and answer the allegations against him. This is how it should be, as is the fact that under the laws of Nigeria every citizen is presumed and remains innocent until proven guilty.
“We must realize that the fight against corruption is not a static event, but a dynamic and ever evolving process, in which the EFCC is just one actor; and as we continue to work towards improving our democratic process so shall every institution of ours also embark on that journey of evolution.
“What is however important is that there must be accountability and transparency and our people must realize that they would be held to account. This is the building block in the fight against corruption, the establishment of the concept of accountability and the recognition of the rule of law.
“Mr. Magu was not immune – and regardless of the obvious embarrassment that potential acts of wrongdoing by him, given the office he held, may appear for the government. No other administration in the history of Nigeria would have moved to bring into the light and public domain such an allegation.”
Magu was arrested on Monday by a combined team of officials of the Department of State Services and Force Criminal Investigation Department after failing to honour two invitations from the panel.
He has been detained since then and the police authorities on Friday withdrew his security.
His travails followed a memo by Abubakar Malami, Attorney-General of the Federation, in which the suspended anti-graft czar was accused of grave malfeasance.
He was alleged to have mishandled the recovered loot and was selling seized assets to associates.
He was also alleged to have refused to subject himself to the supervision of the office of the Attorney-General.