Another security report cleared Ibrahim Magu for confirmation as Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) chairman, it was learnt yesterday.
The Department of State Services (DSS) sent two reports to the Senate, which did not screen Magu but “rejected” his nomination.
The DSS letter clearing Magu for consideration, dated October 3, 2016, was sent to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang.
Although the letter accused Magu of some infractions, it said the Senate could give Magu the benefit of the doubt.
The Nation stumbled on the letter, which reads: “Following the receipt if the aforementioned request, subject was thoroughly screened.
”Investigation revealed that Magu is currently occupying a residence rented for N40m at N20m per annum. This accommodation was not paid from the commission’s finances but by one Air Commodore (name withheld), a questionable businessman and an ally of the subject who has subsequently been arrested by the service.”
The DSS, in the letter, also said its investigation revealed that Magu “parades a twin personality as an anti-corruption Czar and an ally of a corrupt man.”
But the letter recommended that Magu be considered for the office.
It added: “In the light of the ongoing, Magu’s integrity may be in doubt. Nonetheless, in view of his-achievements since assumption of office in acting capacity, it may be expedient to give him benefit of doubt and be considered.”
The two letters were sent to the Senate on the same date through the Acting Clerk to the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori and Enang.
“We sensed that something was wrong because such letters ought to be addressed to the President of the Senate. It was also strange that the letters came to the Senate through two channels. This is not our procedure.”
The two letters have sparked a big row in the Senate, with some senators collecting signatures to remove Senate Leader Ali Ndume.
A source said: “There is a cold war in the Senate because some Senators were not aware of the letter which recommended Magu’s consideration.
“The aggrieved senators also suspected some hidden agenda because only the letter which indicted Magu as unfit for the office was released to the public.
“Some anti-Magu senators were said to be unhappy with Ndume’s support for Magu which they consider not in tandem with the position of the Senate rejecting his nomination.
“A crisis of confidence has erupted and the anti-Magu senators last night were compiling the ‘sins’ of Ndume in order to pass a vote of no confidence on him by collecting impeachment signatures.
“But those sympathetic to Ndume said it will be impossible to remove the Senate Leader because he enjoys tremendous goodwill in the Senate.”
A Senator said: “What else do they want Ndume to do? He is a Senator from Borno State and the man we are talking about is also from the state. He cannot fold his arms.
“Some Senators don’t even know that Ndume is just being patriotic. Magu is from the majority Kanuri ethnic group. Ndume is from a minority ethnic group in the state.
“If Ndume wants to be selfish, he would just distance himself from the travails of anyone from the majority ethnic group.”
Presidential Assistant Enang said last night he would not want to be drawn into the issue.
He told our correspondent on the telephone: “I don’t want to descend into the arena because whatever I say will deepen the controversy.
“My job is that of a liaison officer and I want to stick to that role.”
Disturbed by the intrigues over Magu’s fate, some donor agencies, anti-graft war partners and foreign missions are anxious over the anti-graft war’s future.
Most of the donor agencies, partners and foreign missions are said to favour Magu’s retention.
The intrigues have heightened in the Presidency.
Although those against Magu are said to be losing out in the last 48 hours, they have not given up.
Most of the donor agencies, partners and foreign missions are disturbed about the scandal woven around Magu, whose rejection without “fair hearing” was also rated by some of them as “political.”
A government source said: “The Presidency will resolve this challenge at hand in EFCC soon.”
A source said: “The AGF is already working on the Senate Committee’s report and DSS reports on Magu. His advisory might guide the government accordingly.”
Some of the donor agencies and partners that have collaborated with the EFCC include United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), US Justice Department, the DFID, FBI, the National Crime Agency( NCA), the Metropolitan Police, the Interpol, City of London police, Serious Organized Crime Agency(SOCA), UK-sponsored Justice 4 All (J4ALL) , the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Western Australia Police and some foreign missions.
The UNODC project led to the treatment of more than 5000 petitions, 400 convictions and the recovery of about $6.5billion proceeds of crimes.
A diplomatic source, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, said: “We are all worried that each time your country takes a step forward to fight corruption, you end up going 10 steps backward. Your anti-corruption war is laced with bitter politics.
“Most of us have opened desks to monitor what will become of the Acting Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu whom we have all worked with.
“We, however, recognise that it is purely your internal affair which we cannot dabble in.
“Some of us have sought clarifications from some people in government and the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC).
“ All we need is a fair and just process on all issues affecting the war against corruption in your country. But the way things are going, it is a bit unclear.”
Another source from a foreign mission said: “We have worked closely with Magu and naturally, we have some anxiety on what next.
“Some donor agencies and missions have invested a lot in assisting anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria, especially EFCC, but there is always instability.
“For instance, in the last 12 years, you have had four people managing the EFCC. We are all watching events before drawing our conclusions.
“All I know is that the attitude of Nigeria towards tackling corruption might define its relationship with some countries.”
A source in PACAC said: “We have been receiving enquiries from some foreign missions and international agencies.”
Some of the assistance to EFCC are as follows:
*The US Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI) donation of a forensic work station, titled F.R.E.D (Forensic Recovery of Evidence Device).
* The payment of forensic accountant that assisted the EFCC to uncover those accused in the fuel subsidy fraud.
*Joint tactical and operational activities like collaboration with the Interpol, City of London police, Serious Organised Crime Agency(SOCA).
* NCA collaboration with EFCC to probe the oil sector during the tenure of a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison- Madueke.
*Ongoing MoU between EFCC and Western Australia Police to combat internet fraud and money laundering.