N24 Billion EFCC Office: Magu Scored Self High on Prudency

Corruption, News, Nigeria

The acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, has defended the agency’s “modest” spending of N24 billion on its new office, despite public criticisms of the huge cost in a depressed economy and huge public debt profile. Magu claimed that the spendings are modest and public spending on such building should really have cost N100 billion.

The acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, has defended the agency’s N24 billion new office, brushing aside criticisms about the huge cost, and claiming it is a modest amount for a building that should cost N100 billion.

A visibly angry Mr. Magu on Wednesday took strong exception to the scrutiny that followed the EFCC’s completion of the new headquarters in Abuja.

The 10-floor building is about 95 percent completed as at May 9 and is expected to serve as the operating base for the anti-graft body.

Politicians have hailed the completion, but anti-corruption campaigners and other citizens are instead keeping their eyes on the cost, especially coming at a time that the agency itself is complaining of poor funding that hampers its basic operations.

“You are not being fair,” Mr. Magu said when asked by media to respond to the controversies around the N24 billion price Wednesday. “If you go and bring any valuer, they will value it for not less than N100 billion.”

Mr. Magu took a select group of journalists on a tour of the building Wednesday afternoon, during which he took questions which were restricted to the new building. The anti-graft chief refused to take questions about his own activities or those of the EFCC in recent months. 

The tour is part of ongoing efforts to raise public awareness to the building before formal opening by President Muhammadu Buhari on May 15.

He explained the cumbersome and expensive procurement process that culminated in the successful execution of the new head office, located at about 12 kilometers southwest of Abuja’s Central Business District.

“That shows prudence, that shows transparency,” Mr. Magu said.

Suspicions have escalated within the past two weeks when Mr. Magu began gloating about the building, which was built by the construction firm, Julius Berger.

The acting EFCC chairman told The Nation last month he was “excited that the headquarters is ready for use” and placed it at an offhand price of N24 billion.

“I will crosscheck to give you the exact figure,” he added.

The skepticism that ensued following the revelation last month gained traction online Tuesday after the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, led other lawmakers on a tour of the facility.

Mr. Saraki praised Mr. Magu and his last two predecessors for putting in their best to complete the building for the agency, which was established in 2003.

magg[Acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu]

The agency has been renting offices and official quarters for most of its staff at its branches across the country, including in Abuja where hundreds are currently putting up in a rented apartment.

On November 24, 2010, Yayale Ahmed, then Secretary to the Government of the Federation, proposed the new building to the Federal Executive Council and later got an initial release of N18 billion for it.

A few weeks later, Sahara Reporters published concerns about how Julius Berger won a ‘no objection’ procurement certificate to build the office, alongside a slew of other allegedly questionable contracts award by President Goodluck Jonathan’s cabinet at the time.

The new office includes a mid-size parking facility, three detached buildings, including a clinic, a generator house, and a 33KV step-down transformer station.

Martin Obono, an Abuja-based anti-corruption campaigner, said the EFCC has no justification for spending N24 billion on a single office at the expense of not only the taxpayers but also some of its staff.

“It is not feasible that N24 billion would have been spent on that building,” Mr. Obono said. “It is too expensive for a so-called anti-corruption agency.”

Mr. Obono said the EFCC could build a befitting office for its operations in each of the 36 states at the price of N24 billion, especially since hundreds of staff members operating away from the head office in Abuja would still be putting up with offices that are not conducive.

“Over the past few months, we have heard the EFCC raise alarm about how poor funding is hindering its operations,” Mr. Obono said. “So why should the same agency spend such a humongous amount on an office complex that would only occupy a few people.”

Several departments and directorates are expected to be moved to the new office, but several others will not have accommodation.

Mr. Magu confirmed this and said the EFCC would still keep its current head office along Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent in Wuse II as an annex. Furthermore, some Abuja-based staff members who are currently working out of leased buildings and living in rented quarters would continue to do so for the near future because the new building cannot accommodate everyone.

“Clearly, this building cannot return the N24 billion value Nigerians paid for it,” Mr. Obono said. “We cannot use corruption to fight corruption.”

He demanded that the EFCC publish its books in relations to the building, especially procurement dossiers.

“Mr. Magu must publish the full details of how the money was spent and not think Nigerians are foolish or that they are not paying attention to the suspicious activities going on in an agency that should be curbing financial crimes,” the activist added.

Acting Chair of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu

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We Raided Magu’s Farm For Money- Dismissed NAF Officer

Corruption, Crime, News, Politics

The police have paraded three suspects for their alleged involvement in the attack on the farmhouse of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu.

The police have paraded three suspects for their alleged involvement in the attack on the farmhouse of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu.

The attack on the farmhouse led to the death of a policeman, Sergeant Haruna Sarki, who was on guard duty.

The suspects include a dismissed Nigerian Air Force Officer, Vincent Michael, with number: NAF12/26972L/CPL, Inalegwu Omikpa, and Francis Ochife.

Michael told journalists in Abuja on Monday that they raided the farmhouse because they were informed that Magu was keeping huge sums of money there.

The suspect said they were convinced that money was being kept in the farm because there were only a cow and two sheep, which were being guarded by two policemen.

Michael said, “In November 2017,  a friend of mine told me that his friend, Omikpa, told him that there was money at Magu’s house and that we should go and take it.

“At first, I did not buy the idea but he called me again and told me that we were not going to rob. He said all we needed to do was to go and dig the soakaway and get the money out.

“So, December 12, we went to the place and when we got there with two other soldiers, who were contacted by Omikpa, the captain grabbed the policeman who was on duty, I held his neck and Omikpa tied his hand and leg.”

He added, “After he was tied, I picked up the digger and made my way to the soakaway.  I noticed a ray of torchlight and then I went back and noticed that a boy who kills animals at the farm was also there.”

“They tied him also and the captain came to join me where I was breaking the soakaway.  I broke two soakaways but I did not see any money. I received a phone call later that people had started noticing that we were on the farm, so we left.”

On who was responsible for the death of the policeman,  the dismissed NAF officer said Omikpa killed the cop.

“Omikpa killed the policeman because we left him with the policeman and he later came to join us where we were breaking the soakaway,” he stated.

Speaking during the parade of the suspects at the Force Headquarters in Abuja on Monday, the Deputy Force Spokesman, SP Aremu Adeniran, said Michael was handed over to the police by the NAF after he was dismissed from service for his involvement in the attack.

He added that two other NAF personnel who took part in the operation were currently facing disciplinary action with the NAF and would be handed over to the police thereafter.

Items recovered from them included two police AK47 rifles, two mobile phones, two magazines and 60 rounds of AK47 ammunition.

Omikpa explained that they planned to sell the slain policeman’s AK47 rifle for N400,000 because they did not find any money when they raided the farm.

Magu Not Fit as EFCC Acting Chairman – Nigerian Senate

Politics, Power

maguChairman, Senate Committee on Public Petitions, Ethics and privileges, Senator Samuel Anyanwu has stated that Nigeria Senate no longer regard Mr. Ibrahim Magu as Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He gave this revelation at a press conference while reacting to questions bothering his Committee.

“There are petitions against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission by some Nigerians, but my Committee does not see Ibrahim Magu as the Acting Chairman and that is why he was not invited”, Anyanwu said.

The lawmaker further said his committee would use 2018 budget defense to track down Magu.

“The 2018 budget is here, we will it as instrument against PMB for defying Senate resolution on Ibrahim Magu”, Anyanwu submitted.

NIA DG explains why agency stopped EFCC from arresting Oke, blasts Magu

Politics, Power

The National Intelligence Agency, NIA, has revealed why the agency blocked attempt to arrest its former DG, Ambassador Ayodele Oke.

NIA operatives, last year, blocked officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, from taking Oye for questioning. 

Oke.jpg

Dauda said the move to arrest the former DG was first reported in the media even before the EFCC concluded on its position on the issue.

He added that NIA was a secret service whose operation were clandestine and highly classified.

The Acting DG said there was no official communication to the agency from the EFCC on the exact mission of its operatives to the “residence” of Oke.

Dauda denied knowledge of any letter from the Acting chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, requesting for the surrender of the former DG of the NIA, adding that the only letter received from the EFCC chairman was a threat to report the conduct of the NIA to President Muhammadu Buhari.

He regretted that the EFCC under Magu had been hostile to and uncooperative with the NIA, leading to the massive withdrawal of NIA operatives from the service of the EFCC.