DSS shifts Magu probe to CCB

THE Department of State Services (DSS) has been working with the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) on the Asset Declaration Form filled by the suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, it was learnt at the weekend.

Sources said this  is in line with the ongoing investigation into the activities of the EFCC under Magu’s leadership.

But, it was not clear if this action is connected with the Justice Ayo Salami panel — before which Magu was dragged— based on the allegations raised by Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN).

A highly-placed source said: “The DSS approached the CCB for collaboration on the Asset Form. It said it was in respect of the information it shared with the Bureau.

“So, whatever CCB is doing is at the instance of the DSS. The security agency sought for joint investigation with the bureau.

“It is difficult to say whether it is a separate issue or the activities of the Salami Fact-Finding panel. CCB is already cooperating with the agency.”

Also on Sunday, the EFCC boss said he was yet to be asked any question by the Presidential Investigation Committee, even as spoke on the recovered N329 billion for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

He said the cash was promptly remitted to a designated account and not touched by the EFCC.

Magu said EFCC has preferred charges against those implicated in the alleged N3 billion scandal in the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

He said he will no longer keep quiet while his image is being maligned on false allegations.

Magu, who made the clarifications in a statement through his lawyer, Mr. Wahab Shittu, said the Salami panel was yet to raise any issue on his asset.

He lamented that he had been the butt of attacks in the last three weeks on unfounded allegations, saying that the only thing going for him in spite of these sponsored attacks is his conviction of innocence.

Magu explained how the agency his watch recovered N329 billion for the NNPC.

The statement said: “Contrary to the misleading media reports, EFCC under our client’s watch never misappropriated any funds recovered for NNPC.

“The truth of the matter is that, well over N329 billion recovered by EFCC under our client’s watch was remitted directly into NNPC dedicated accounts via REMITTA under a special arrangement endorsed by NNPC, EFCC and the affected NNPC’s indebted marketers.

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“By virtue of the said special arrangement, NNPC had requested formally the EFCC to recover the said amount from the affected NNPC’s marketers who were expected to pay such funds directly to NNPC while NNPC in turn confirmed receipt of such payments to EFCC.

“Therefore, EFCC never took custody of any of the recovered funds and so, the question of misappropriation of such funds by EFCC or our client could not have arisen as falsely published. This can be independently verified both at the NNPC and the EFCC records. Interestingly, the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company LTD (PPMC), a subsidiary of NNPC had in a letter dated August 17, 2017 with reference number PPMC/MD/254, actually commended the EFCC under my client’s watch.

“The PPMC in the said letter stated as follows ”We wish to express our profound gratitude for the successful collaboration between the EFCC and PPMC/NNPC which largely resulted in the huge recovery of debts from the marketers, from the inception of the recovery exercise in 2016 till date.

“We appreciate your commission’s professional and diligent handling of the recovery of debts from the marketers throughout the period and we look forward to further collaboration in further areas

“The issue of NNPC recovered funds has never featured in the proceedings of the panel and our client has never been confronted with such wild allegations. Our client is alarmed at the motive behind such spurious allegation in spite of altruistic service to country without personal pecuniary benefits.”

On assets declaration, the EFCC boss said: “Again, this falsehood being orchestrated in the public space and attributed to the panel proceedings is a gross misrepresentation and blatant falsehood.

“Our client has never been confronted with any such allegations purportedly arising from the Panel’s proceedings.

“The story attributed to the panel which has become a recurring decimal, is a dangerous attempt to discredit the work of the honourable panel.

He faulted the allegation that he excluded suspects implicated in the alleged misapplication of N3billion in Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS)

The statement added: “Our client has been unfairly accused of failure to properly explain the rationale for excluding some culprits in the alleged misappropriation N3billion at the FIRS.

“This is one falsehood from the pit of hell. Investigations were painstakingly conducted by EFCC under our client’s watch. The matter has since been referred for prosecution. Charges have been prepared ahead of arraignment in court.

“Therefore, the question of complicity by our client does not arise. Our client did not give any express or implied directive that anyone indicted be excluded from the legal process.

“Our client has no interest in shielding anyone found culpable from the long arms of the law. At any rate, time does not run against the state in criminal prosecutions. It is tendentiously wicked to suggest that our client excluded major approving authorities from the criminal process.

“As a matter of fact, one Peter Hena, Head of the FIRS Coordinator Support Services Group, who allegedly authorised the illegal payment, is one of those listed to be arraigned. The case was properly investigated and professionally vetted with our client deploying no influence whatsoever on the outcome.”

He added: “In the last three weeks, our client in spite of service to country has gone through sponsored, unprecedented and unjustifiable coordinated attacks designed to infringe on his liberties and prejudice the work of the investigation panel with a view to prejudging and convicting him in the public space.

“These attacks from the manner of his arrest, unjustified detention to the release of prejudicial information in the public space and defamatory imputations not arising from the proceedings of the panel are all designed to pitch our client against constituted authorities and truncate his fledging career notwithstanding his monumental contributions to nation building.

“Our client takes all these attacks in his strides because of his passion for the anti -corruption war of this administration for which he has received acclaim locally and internationally and his unwavering respect for the president. Our client maintains that the only thing going for him in spite of these sponsored attacks is his conviction of his innocence.

“Take notice that, our client can no longer fold his hands in the face of these sustained malicious attacks to prejudge him in the public space. Our client will henceforth, point by point, reply to all false allegations orchestrated against him in the public space on a daily basis as well as present his comprehensive defense for the world to see.

“This is without prejudice to the willingness of our client to defend himself in the ongoing proceedings at the Presidential Investigation Panel.”

The Nation

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