Tuesday, March 21, 2023

EFCC Former Boss Magu Compromised Cases Worth N333bn, $2bn – Panel

The presidential panel that probed Ibrahim Magu led by Justice Ayo Salami has disclosed that cases compromised under the watch of the former acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) were calculated to the tune of N333 billion, $2 billion and £13 million.

In the final report submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2020, the judicial panel said the running and management of the anti-graft commission during Magu’s tenure was characterized by impunity and arbitrariness, TheCable reports.

Usman Zakari, an operative of the commission, was said to have bungled 23 cases worth N45 billion, while the commission was accused of violating procurement processes, the report said.

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 Magu was in charge of the agency.

The report has now been submitted to the office of the secretary to the government of the federation.

A panel to produce the white paper will soon be set up, presidency sources informed TheCable.

“The EFCC awarded the contract for the new headquarters consultancy services at the rate of N451,318,501 instead of the N399,243,290 approved by the BPP. The commission observes that the EFCC formed the habit of not engaging the use of the default procurement method (open competitive bidding). The EFCC in some cases, extend/renew contracts without obtaining approvals from the relevant/appropriate authorities,” the panel said.

“The submissions made by the EFCC on the status of investigation conducted by the zonal offices exposed some operatives who are notoriously engaged in brazen compromise of cases. The affected cases were either closed or Kept-in-View (KIV) by the dubious operatives.

“The compromised cases in naira denomination involved the sum of N333,535,364,077. The compromised cases in US dollar denomination are valued at $2,521,011,976. The compromised cases in calculated in British pounds denomination are valued at £13,143,570. One of the operatives identified as Usman Zakari dubiously kept-in-view 23 different cases, with offences ranging from money laundering, diversion of funds, obtaining under false pretense, all involving a total sum of N45,262,005,908.”

In the final report, the panel further said some of the EFCC zonal offices are lacking in basic working equipment and vehicles, and that the commission’s working system is archaic.

The panel asked the government to direct the EFCC to subject its personnel to periodic vetting by the relevant security agency.

“The EFCC does not have an approved regulation/scheme of service and an operating manual that guide the management and operations of the commission. The EFCC legal department is assessed by the commission as being dysfunctional, as the department is fragmented with no clear-cut leadership structure,” the report stated.

“Some of the common findings of the annual internal audit exercise are poor exhibit management systems (stale financial instruments, unfortified exhibit room, exhibits not insured in spite of huge volume of cash often in the custody of exhibit keepers. Also, exhibits taken to courts by investigating officers were sometimes not returned to the exhibit keeper, while no case reference number are marked on exhibits and exhibits are released to IPOs without the mandatory bond); exhibits keepers are not properly trained.

“Poor categorization of forfeited assets into interim and final; some forfeited assets were being occupied without the occupants paying rents and in some instances, the suspects are still in occupation or retain control. Absence of proper procurement planning; absence of standard operating procedures (SOPs); inadequate working tools for operatives at the EFCC zonal offices to enhance their performance; and there was no clear internal audit programme.”

The panel recommended that the EFCC act should be amended to provide an explicit supervisory role of the attorney-general of the federation over the commission.


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