Grilled till 8.30pm yesterday
…Any EFCC chair must be above suspicion — PRESIDENCY
By Dapo Akinrefon, Olasunkanmi Akoni, Johnbosco Agbakwuru & Henry Ojelu
Embattled Acting Chairman of the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, yesterday spent the second day answering questions from members of a presidential panel headed by Justice Ayo Isa Salami.
Dailyupdate learnt yesterday that the acting EFCC chairman might have been suspended, but this could not be confirmed at press time. However, a Presidency source said anybody elevated to the position of EFCC chairman must be above suspicion. A Presidency source told Vanguard yesterday that the interrogation of the anti-graft boss was to give him opportunity to clear himself of weighty allegations.The source maintained that the investigation of the EFCC boss was to reinforce the Buhari administration’s commitment to transparency and accountability, and assured that the administration will not pre-judge anyone as it could be counted on to uphold justice and fairness.
“The panel investigating allegations against the acting EFCC chairman had been sitting for some weeks now. In consonance with the principle of fairness and justice, it was needful that the acting chairman be given opportunity to respond to the allegations, which are weighty in nature.Under the Muhammadu Buhari administration, nobody is above scrutiny. I repeat, nobody.
“The investigation is to reinforce transparency and accountability, rather than to vitiate it. Accountability for our actions or inactions is inalienable part of democracy. In such elevated position as that of EFCC chairman, the holder of the position must be above suspicion.
“There’s no pre-judgment, absolutely none.
” The Buhari administration can be counted on to uphold fairness and justice at all times.Vanguard gathered yesterday that Monday’s incident, which led to the “arrest” of Magu on the street, was warranted by his reluctance to answer the panel’s several summons. Despite that, the panel was said to have accorded the anti-graft boss his due respect by letting him retain his phones, allowing him to go for prayers and served dinner while still being quizzed.
The panel quizzing the embattled EFCC boss has Justice Ayo Isa Salami, a retired president of the Court of Appeal as chairman, while other members were drawn from the Police, DSS, and the National Security Adviser’s office.It was also learned that while Magu resisted attempts to get him into a car at the end of Monday’s panel’s sitting, and opted to ride in the back of a pick-up truck. He was said to have spent the night at the Force Criminal Investigation Bureau, FCIB, after Monday’s grilling and was brought to the State House Conference Hall with the same truck that was used when the former Director-General of the Department of State Services, DSS, Lawal Daura, was relieved of his positionOn the second day of the sitting, yesterday, members of the panel were noticed at the venue of the interrogation by noon, while a convoy of three cars, which appeared to be carrying an important guest drove into the premises at 12.37pm. It was not certain whether Magu was the principal official in the convoy.
The convoy had a Peugeot saloon car sandwiched between two Toyota Hilux vans occupied by several security personnel who provided cover for the car. After a brief screening by personnel of the Department of State Service, DSS, at the gate, the convoy was waved on to join the panel. Access was again denied to unauthorized persons, including journalists by security details at the centre.