The suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu has reacted to the allegation of conspiracy, enrichment, and abuse of public office levelled against him.
Information gathered revealed that the suspended EFCC boss was accused of conspiracy and other crimes by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.
Magu while responding to the allegation levelled against by the AGF before the Presidential panel said;
The allegations in B6) are that I protested against the efforts of the National Assembly (NASS) to address the transparency in the management of recovered assets through the enactment of The Proceeds of Crime Bill 2019. It was also alleged that due to the protest of the Commission and the false information I purportedly supplied, Mr President declined assent to the Proceeds of Crime Bill, 2019.
MY RESPONSE TO ALLEGATION IN PARAGRAPH B (6):
1. I deny all the allegations contained in paragraph B (6) of the petition as same are untrue and only calculated to embarrass me and rubbish the display of my patriotism and unflinching loyalty to the President and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
That contrary to the allegations in paragraph B6) I know as a fact and verily believe that Mr President forwarded the draft Proceeds of Crime Bill to the Commission, as well as other Anti Corruption Agencies, such as the Nigerian Police Force, ICPC, NDLEA, NAPTIP and the Nigerian Customs Service. Attached and marked as Annexure 18 is the letter from the Chief of Staff to the President forwarding the Proceeds of Crime Bill, 2019 to the Commission for review, comments and remarks.
Upon receipt of the Presidential instruction. I promptly constituted a team of experts in this field with the requisite experience to review the draft Bill as directed by Mr President.
After a thorough review of the Bill, the Commission came up with a common position and forwarded the same to Mr President. Attached and Marked Annexure 19 is a copy of the letter through which the Commission forwarded its position to Mr President.
Apart from the Commission, other Anti Corruption Agencies also forwarded their positions to Mr President disagreeing with the substantial section of the Bill.
Mr President declined assent to the Proceeds of Crime Bill, 2019 in the overriding interest of the nation and the need to sustain the tempo of the achievements this administration is recording in the fight against corruption. The recommendations of the Commission to Mr President on the Bill was not tainted with any falsehood, rather it was honest, professional, courageous and a patriotic position. Other than the corporate position of the Commission which was transmitted to Mr President. I did not sponsor any campaign against the POCA Bill, 2019
ALLEGATIONS IN PARAGRAPHS B(7), B(8) & B(9)
The allegations in paragraphs B7, BS & B9 are that:
– I neglected and refused blatantly to comply with Regulations on the Management of Recovered Assets, 2019,
– I do not want a proper and transparent procedure for the management of assets as directed by Mr President through the Office of the HAGF. I and top officials of the Commission are using the forfeited assets to corruptly enrich ourselves.
MY RESPONSE TO ALLEGATIONS IN PARAGRAPH B(7), B(8) & B(9)
1. I deny all the allegations in paragraphs B(7), B8) & B(9) of the petition in their entirety as they are totally untrue and calculated to malign me and the Commission.
2. Contrary to paragraphs B(7), B(8) & B(9) of the petition, I know as a fact and verily believe that:
i. All steps taken by me in respect of recovered and forfeited assets were in accordance with powers conferred on me by the Act of the National Assembly which established the Commission.
ii. I have never disobeyed any directives and regulations of Mr President whether in relation to the management of the recovered and forfeited assets or any sundry issues.
iii. In the discharge of my official functions, I am bound to comply with the provisions of various enabling laws enacted by the NASS which confer certain special powers on the Commission in respect of recovered and forfeited assets which are in conflict with the Regulations of the HAGF.
vi. Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 conferred on the Commission the responsibility of tracing and forfeiting abandoned properties and properties reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activities,
V. Through the special provisions of Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offence Act, 2006 the Commission under my watch has forfeited numerous properties to the FGN.
vi. Rather than strengthening the institutional capacity of the Commission and the provisions of section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006: the Commission and its enabling statutes have been subjected to numerous attacks and blackmails majorly aimed at whittling down the powers of the Commission.
vii. One of such attacks is the provisions of section 162 (3) of the Proceeds of Crime Bill, 2019 which seeks to delete sections 6(d),13(2)(c), 20, 21, 22, 24, 25(a), (c) & (d), 26(1)(b), 29, 33, and 34 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004 which empowered the Commission to investigate, prosecute and confiscate assets.
Considering the negative impact section 162 (3) of Proceeds of Crime Bill, 2019 will have on the tracing and recovery of proceeds of crimes in Nigeria, Mr President in his wisdom declined assent to the Bill.
ix. The Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations, 2019 made by the HAGF without the intervention of the NASS seeks to divest the Commission of its statutory power to trace, recover and institute non-conviction based forfeiture proceedings in Court. This conflicts with the statutory mandates and powers conferred on the Commission by the NASS.
I am always transparent in the exercise of my official duties and there is no official decision that I have taken as Ag. Chairman of the Commission which was not a product of the transparent process and in compliance with statutory provisions.
xi. The Commission did not oppose the enactment of Proceeds of Crime Bill, 2019 but was opposed to some negative and far-reaching provisions of the Bill which will impede and reverse the anti-corruption agenda of the FGN.
ALLEGATIONS IN PARAGRAPH (B)10
In paragraph B (10), it was alleged that most of the forfeited assets are sold without anyone knowing, or having proper record recourse to the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing that has the mandate to undertake the valuation of such properties. It was also alleged that some of the assets have been taken over by officials of the Commission while some are sold at giveaway prices to my friends and cronies,
It was further alleged that I maintained different accounts including using proxies who return the benefit of the sold assets to me and that the proceeds of the purported sales were used to acquire properties in the name of my proxies.
MY RESPONSE TO ALLEGATIONS IN PARAGRAPH B(10)
1. Sir, I deny each and every allegations contained in paragraph B(10) of the petition as they are totally false, untrue and merely targeted at destroying my hard-earned reputation as an incorruptible Officer
2. That contrary to the allegations contained in paragraph B(10) of the petition, I know as a fact and verily believe that:
Since my assumption of office as the Ag. Chairman of the Commission, not a single recovered or forfeited property has been sold and the proceeds fraudulently converted.
All the finally forfeited properties are intact except those described below:
• 244 Forfeited Trucks: The Federal High Court directed the trucks to be sold by the Deputy Chief Registrar of the court in conjunction with the Department Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Commission. Notwithstanding the Order of Court, I ensured that a Presidential approval was sought and obtained before the process of sale commenced in December 2019. The sale by public auction was concluded and the proceeds paid to the Recovery Account domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria. Attached and marked Annexure 20 is the Presidential approval and evidence of remittance of the proceeds of the sale to the Recovery Account.
• Allocation of vehicles to some Government Agencies through special auction, with Presidential approval. The beneficiary Agencies are:
a. Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management of which the valued price is to be debited from their allocation.
b. State House.
c. National Commission for Refugees and Displaced Persons.
d. Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
e. National Directorate of Employment (NDE): motorcycles.
• Real properties finally forfeited to the FGN and allocated to some Agencies for official use in line with the Presidential approval are:
a. Voice of Nigeria (VON).
b. National Directorate of Employment (NDE).
c. Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management.
d. North-East Development Commission.
e. Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD).
• Properties under interim forfeiture order rented by some Government Agencies:
(a) Nigerian Army
(b) Federal Ministry of Finance
(c) Fiscal Responsibility Commission
(d) Nigerians in Diaspora Commission
(e) Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria
• Others Agencies of Government that have approached the Commission to rent the property under interim forfeiture order include:
a. National Human Rights Commission.
b. National Council for Arts and culture.
• The Commission also temporarily handed over the property in Lagos to the Lagos State Government for use as isolation centre for COVID 19 patients.
The Commission presently has Presidential approval to dispose over 450 forfeited vehicles located in Lagos and Abuja. The vehicles have been valued by the National Automotive Council valuers and the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing but no sale/disposal has been conducted yet.