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brahim Magu: Fresh facts on re-looting of recovered funds emerge

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More revelations have emerged on how recovered funds were allegedly re-looted under the watch of Ibrahim Magu, the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Magu is currently being investigated for alleged re-looting of funds recovered by the EFCC, bribery and other allegations of corruption.

The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, on Saturday obtained a final Report of the Presidential Investigation Committee on the EFCC Federal Government Recovered Assets and Finances from May, 2015, to May 2020.

NAN reports that the Report had seriously indicted and implicated the suspended EFCC Chairman on various allegations leveled against him by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.

The new report shows how interest rates accruing from N550 billion recovered by the anti-graft agency in the period under review were allegedly re-looted.

The suspended EFCC boss is now expected to provide details of the whereabouts of the missing funds, according to the report.

NAN further reports that the Final Report of Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets (PCARA) which covered the period of May 29, 2015, to Nov. 22, 2018, had also confirmed the concerns of the public about contradictory recovery figures emanating from the embattled EFCC boss.

PCARA said it was disturbing that conflicting figures of amount of recovered funds under the Chairmanship of Magu are being circulated in the public space by EFCC.

“For Foreign currency recoveries, EFCC reported a total naira equivalent of N46,038,882,509.87, while the naira equivalent of the foreign currency lodgments were N37,533,764,195.66, representing a shortfall of N8,505,118,314.21,” the PCARA said.

“These inconsistencies cast a serious doubt on the accuracy of figures submitted by the EFCC. It is the committee’s view that the EFCC cannot be said to have fully accounted for cash recoveries made by it.

“While EFCC reported total Naira recoveries of N504,154,184,744.04, the actual bank lodgments were N543,511,792,863.47. These discrepancies mean that EFCC’s actual lodgment exceeded its reported recoveries by N39,357,608,119.43,” it added.

It noted that the discrepancy of more than thirty nine billion naira does not include interest accrued in this account since it was opened.

The PCARA reports said this has cast serious doubt on the credibility of the figures and means that substantial amount of money has not been accurately accounted for.

“Failure to report on the interest on actual lodgments clearly establishes that interest element of over N550 billion has been re-looted relating to the period under review,” it added.

“This is an apparent case of manipulation of data in a very brazen and unprofessional manner and this has greatly eroded the public confidence in the anti-corruption efforts,’’ the report stated in part.

NAN also reports that the PCARA revealed how the investigative reports on anti-graft agency’s activities by the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) exposed acts of corruption and money laundering against some EFCC officials, including Magu.

“The NFIU reports established that the Acting Chairman has been using different sources to siphon money from the EFCC, and in some cases collecting bribes from suspects.

PCARA further quoted NFIU report as saying that a particular Bureau de Change, owned by Ahmed Ibrahim Shanono linked to Magu and based in Kaduna has more than 158 accounts and has been receiving huge sums of funds.

“The link to Magu was also established by the payment of N28 million to FALANA who is a close associate and ally of the Acting Chairman,’’ the PCARA report further revealed.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had on Friday suspended Magu as the acting chairman of the EFCC.

The agency’s Director of Operations, Mohammed Umar, has taken charge and now oversees the activities of the Commission pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation into Magu’s case.

Magu, on Friday wrote the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, asking to be released on bail.

In a letter dated July 10, 2020, Magu’s legal representative, Oluwatosin Ojaomo, asked Adamu to grant bail to his client on “self recognizance”.

The acting EFCC Chairman was arrested on Monday and taken to the presidential Villa in Abuja, where he is being interrogated by a panel headed by Ayo Salami, a retired president of the Appeal Court.

He has been in detention since Monday night, answering questions on alleged embezzlement of recovered loot and selling of seized assets to associates