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Again, Senate rejects Magu as EFCC boss

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Ibrahim Magu

The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday again declined to confirm Ibrahim Magu as the substantive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission.

His nomination was rejected by the majority of the senators present at the plenary  after it was put to a vote.

Magu’s rejection by the Senate followed the receipt of another letter from the Department of State Services (DSS) which stated that the acting EFCC chairman would be “a liability to the anti-corruption fight of the present administration” if confirmed.

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The Senate had on December 15, 2016, declined to confirm him based on a DSS status report which discredited his capability to carry out his duties creditably. The DSS also accused Magu of being corrupt, an accusation the acting EFCC boss queried.

The content of the earlier letter was upheld by another one which was received by the Senate on March 14.

Magu took charge of the EFCC in an acting capacity following the expiration of the tenure of his former boss, Ibrahim Lamorde, in November 2015. He had presided over the affairs of the commission for eight months before Vice President Yemi Osinbajo made the nomination to the Senate on July 22, 2016, when he (Osinbajo) was acting president.

President Muhammadu Buhari, who initially appointed Magu had cleared him of any wrongdoing.

In a letter addressed to the Senate President in January, Buhari said he believed Magu was capable of carrying his duty as the head of the anti-corruption outfit in line with the vision of the administration.

“Distinguished Senators, in view of my conviction, there is need to maintain the momentum of anti-graft fight, while I urge the Senate to reconsider Ibrahim Magu as substantive EFCC Chairman,” Buhari wrote in the letter.

But the Senate did not share Buhari’s sentiment about Magu.

Speaking on Wednesday, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Federal Capital territory (FCT), Senate Dino Melaye insisted the integrity issues raised by the DSS in its letters were such that could not be wished away.

“Mr Ibrahim Magu, nominee for the position of the Chairman of the EFCC, the first report indicted you,” Melaye said.

“But because of the letter from Mr President, you are here again. Mr Chairman, if I have your permission, I want to read page five, paragraph 14 of that report.

“It says: `In the light of the foregoing, Magu has failed the integrity test and will eventually constitute a liability to the anti-corruption fight of the present administration’’, he said.

Melaye said the Senate had the prerogative to request the DSS to screen any government appointee sent for confirmation.

“We do request for [the] screening of every nominee that comes to this Senate by the DSS. It did not start with you and it will not end with you.

“The DSS is to us what the FBI and CIA is and we cannot ridicule, undermine, and put in abeyance, the report of the DSS.

“Anyone who wants to be chairman of EFCC must have the character and characteristics from the words of Caesar. You must be unblemished, you must be pure, and you must be stainless.

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