Barristers & Solicitors
Ex-Chairman Of Nigerian Anti-Graft Agency, EFCC, Magu Failed To Pursue High-profile Suspects But Was Busy Chasing Internet Fraudsters –Presidential Panel

The former acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has been accused of failing to take legal steps against high-profile suspects.

He allegedly purposely killed high-profile cases investigated by the agency while chasing after Internet fraudsters, popularly known as “Yahoo Boys”, a presidential panel report obtained and published by The Cable revealed.

In the final report submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2020, the EFCC under Magu was said to have secured 2,446 convictions from 2015 to 2020, out of which 2,115 had to do with Yahoo boys while 85 were high-profile cases.

Investigating officers of the commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa (now EFCC chairman), Shehu Ala and Sambo Mayana, were said to have submitted executive briefs to Magu seeking permission to take legal steps against high-profile suspects, but the former EFCC boss did not grant the approval until the expiration of court orders.

The panel headed by Ayo Salami, former president of the Court of Appeal, was set up to probe the EFCC from May 2015 to May 2020 when the retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police was in charge of the agency.

“The commission observed that out of the 2,446 convictions secured by the EFCC from 2015-2020, only 85 were for high-profile and money laundering cases, that is 3.4% of the total convictions. Also, 2115 representing over 86% of the total convictions (2446) during the period were for suspects popularly referred to as ‘Yahoo-Yahoo boys’ internet fraudsters, charged for obtaining under false pretence/cheating and related offences,” The Cable quoted the panel as saying.

“The suspended acting chairman, Ibrahim Magu, directed Abdulrasheed Bawa, the investigating officer, to halt the investigations into a case of abuse of office, misappropriation of public funds and money laundering against Senator Ike Ekweremadu. The investigation which commenced in Spetember 2017 traced monies and properties worth N2.4 billion suspected to be proceeds of crime to Senator Ike Ekweremadu.

“The investigation of Starter Point Integrated Services Limited by EFCC over a failed contract involving the sum of $200 million to secure onshore pipelines traversing the country was stalled by the suspended acting chairman of EFCC. That despite the tracing of $91 million to the bank accounts of Starter Point, and $40 million traced to a Switzerland-based company, OWANROAD Plc. There was no evidence of contract execution and no money was recovered before the investigation was stalled on the orders of the suspended acting chairman of EFCC.

“The suspended acting chairman, Ibrahim Magu, issued a general directive to ACP Isyaku Sharu and team of officers investigating cases relating to the arms procurement contract fraud to stand down investigations on all dollar-based contracts.

“In a bid to frustrate the investigations of some politically-exposed persons, the suspended acting chairman split the Economic Governance Unit into two units; Economic Governance ‘A’ and Economic Governance ‘B’, and instructed the head of Economic Governance ‘B’ against investigating high-profile cases which led to the abandonment involving the likes of former governors Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano state, Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun state, Donald Duke of Cross Rivers state and Ikedia Ohakim of Imo state; as well as the incumbent governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Umar Fintiri. Others are Anyim Pius Anyim, Dr Doyin Okupe, Femi Gbajabiamila, among others.”

The EFCC, under Magu, was also said to have investigated Darius Ishaku, governor of Taraba state, and his associates for misappropriating N25 billion, part of which was used to buy a large expanse of farmland in the Mambilla area of the state while some were found in his wife’s bank accounts. After the conclusion of the investigation in 2018, the panel said the EFCC refused to initiate a suit to forfeit the assets and money.

All properties recovered from Bala Mohammed, Bauchi governor; Ibrahim Shettima, former governor of Katsina; Sambo Dasiki, former national security adviser; and Haruna Momoh, an associate of Diezani Alison-Madueke, former petroleum resources minister, by the EFCC were reported to still be in possession of the suspects.

According to the report, Magu failed to give approval for the arraignment of Stella Oduah, senator and former minister of aviation, over the alleged fraudulent diversion of N3.9 billion airport procurement contract fraud after the final investigation report in March 2018.

In addition, the report said Societe D’Equipment Internationale, owned by one Aboubakar Hima, was awarded a contract by the office of the national security adviser to the tune of $930 million, €9 million and N350 million to supply military equipment to the Nigerian army, air force.

Hima was said to have diverted the money to acquire real estate in Nigeria and the Niger Republic, while some vice-marshals in the air force were also said to have benefitted from the illicit funds.

To further frustrate the investigation of Societe D’Equipment Internationale, in 2016, Magu allegedly dispersed the investigators involved “under the guise of routine transfers” and left no one to continue the investigation.

The panel said Magu also admitted to issuing a letter absolving the company of any wrongdoing, while the suspect fled Nigeria and escaped justice..