NIGERIA’S ongoing corruption investigation drama has taken a new twist with the suspended chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu revealing that assets recovered by the agency were auctioned to the government.
Earlier this month, Mr Magu was arrested by men of the Department of State Security in Abuja and has since been held for questioning by a presidential panel set up to investigate him. President Muhammadu Buhari has since suspended him from office and over the last few weeks, all sorts of stories have been circulating about impropriety associated with Mr Magu.
Among other things, Mr Magu is also accused of owning four properties and said to have been transferring funds abroad through a third party. It is also alleged that during one trip, Mr Magu flew to Maiduguri alongside one Air Commodore Mohammed of questionable character with a bank managing director, who was being investigated by the EFCC over complicity in funds allegedly stolen by former petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
Claiming all the allegations were part of a witch-hunt as corruption was fighting back against him, Mr Magu has maintained his innocence. Yesterday, Mr Magu upped the ante by revealing that some of the forfeited assets recovered by the EFCC were auctioned to federal government ministries and government agencies.
Abubakar Malami, Nigeria’s attorney-general had accused Mr Magu of failing to account for recovered loot and assets, saying he sold some of the recovered assets to his associates. However, in a letter addressed to the Ayo Salami-led presidential panel probing the allegations, Mr Magu explained how some of the assets were sold off.
He listed the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management and the Federal Inland Revenue Service as agencies that got recovered vehicles through special auctions with presidential approval. Mr Magu noted that about 450 forfeited vehicles are yet to be sold, although they have presidential approval to be disposed off.
He said some of these agencies have not paid for the vehicles but that there was an agreement for their values will be deducted from the ministries’ allocation. Mr Magu added that seized property was also given to some ministries and parastatals to be used as office premises.