According to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), some persons are scheming to blackmail its Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, with ownership of properties outside the country.
In a statement on Wednesday, EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren said the culprits have almost finalised plans to place Magu at the centre of ownership of choice properties abroad.
“The commission has information that the desperate cabal could take their gambit to the ridiculous extent of purchasing properties and registering them in the name of Ibrahim Magu to make the plot believable. They are also prepared to sponsor some political hirelings who would come out openly to claim they have information about the property acquisitions.”
He said the cabal’s scheme is aimed at tarnishing the “unblemished integrity” of the EFCC boss and ridicule him before the Nigerian public.
“Those behind the plot, which is believed to be part of a grand design to discredit the anti-graft czar, have allegedly finalised plans to name Magu as the owner of choice properties in exotic locations abroad.”
Uwujaren said Magu has “neither bought a house anywhere outside Nigeria nor commissioned any person or corporate body to acquire property in his name or any name remotely linked to him.”
Why this matters: The President Buhari-led administration has been enmeshed in one controversy after another relating to its appointees’ alleged involvement in corrupt practices. If the purported blackmail succeeds, there might be no getting out of this one for the presidency.
And with the EFCC at the forefront of prosecuting those accused of misappropriation and corruption, the fast eroding sincerity of the administration’s anti-corruption fight would be all but gone.
Also, a successful blackmail against the EFCC boss will give the Senate more reasons to refuse the ratification of Magu as substantive EFCC chairman. Magu has been in Acting capacity since his appointment in 2015 as a result of intense powerplay between the executive and the legislature. Severally, the Senate has refused ratifying Magu’s appointment but the Presidency is undeterred and has demonstrated its resolve not to let him go.
Who is after Magu?: Heading the nation’s frontline anti corruption agency and championing President Buhari’s crusade, it is understandable that the EFCC boss will be a subject of ‘reprisal attacks.’ Like the administration is wont to say, ‘corruption is fighting back.’
This is not the first time the Commission will raise alarms over attempts to implicate its boss and frustrate the anti corruption fight. Few months ago, the plot, according to the EFCC, was to pay massive sums of money into Magu’s accounts with the objective of blackmailing him with bribery and compromise.
But Magu cannot be distracted: In the statement, Magu was quoted as saying his commitment to fighting corruption remains unshaken, regardless of the schemes.
“They can only irritate me, but they can’t stop me because all men of goodwill in this country know the sacrifices that we are making to improve the fortunes of our nation. Those who assume that I have properties abroad, can go and claim them,” he said.