The Presidential panel set up to probe the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, has begun a physical verification of all assets seized by the EFCC
The panel, led by a former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, has visited Lagos, Abuja, Rivers State and a few other major offices of the commission.
A source close to the panel said the aim of the exercise was to verify claims made by Magu regarding the seizure of assets.
The source, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “Members of the panel have been visiting major zonal offices of the EFCC. We have visited Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt and we will visit Ibadan this week.
“We visited some of the houses which Magu claimed to have seized. However, some of them which he claimed to have been seized had no markings of ‘EFCC Keep Off!’ while in some other cases, the alleged looters were still living in them.
“Some houses are also being occupied by strange persons. Magu claims to have obtained presidential approval to allocate the properties to them. Unfortunately, he has not been able to provide the letter of authorization he purportedly got from the President.
“A lot of vehicles that were seized were also in a bad shape. Some of these vehicles had some parts of their engines removed while for some others, tyres had been removed. We are compiling all the reports.”
When asked when the final report would be submitted to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), he said the panel would most likely submit it next week.
“As you know, we ended sittings like two weeks ago. It is the verification that is delaying us. Once we are done with our nationwide tour, we will compile our report and send it to the President,” he said.
Magu and over 13 other senior officials of the EFCC including its Secretary, Ola Olukoyede, were suspended in July following a report by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), accusing Magu of being unable to account for the interest that accrued to over N550bn recovered funds.
The report of the AGF, which was based on the investigation of a separate panel he personally set up, stated that Magu allegedly purchased a house in Dubai for N570m, an allegation that the suspended EFCC boss has constantly denied.
Based on the allegations, Buhari named a panel of seven including Justice Ayo Salami (North-Central); Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Michael Ogbezi (South-South); a representative of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Muhammad Babadoko (North-Central); and Hassan Abdullahi from the Department of State Services (North-Central).
Others are Muhammad Shamsudeen from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (North-West), Douglas Egweme from the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (South-East), and Kazeem Atitebi (South-West) who serves as the Secretary.
Efforts to speak to Magu’s lawyer, Tosin Ojaomo, on Wednesday proved abortive as he did not respond to calls.