Niyi Odebode and Olalekan Adetayo
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, on Wednesday, said he had submitted the report on the probe of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir Lawal.
Malami, who disclosed this in an SMS he sent to one of our correspondents in Abuja, said he submitted the report to President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday last week, adding that the President would have the final say on the document.
The President had, on December 18, 2016, directed Malami to probe all top government officials accused of corruption.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, who announced the presidential directive, had said any of the government officials found guilty of the allegations levelled against them would not escape prosecution.
Based on the directive, the AGF had queried the SGF and the acting chairman of the EFCC over allegations levelled against them by the Senate and the Department of State Services respectively.
They were reported to have since replied their queries.
Malami, when asked if he had submitted his report on the investigations of Lawal and Magu, said, “Yes, Friday last week.”
The AGF explained that the report was laid before the President who ordered the probe.
“It was submitted to the President,” he stated.
There were reports on January 1 that Buhari ordered the AGF to submit the report on Magu through the Vice-President.
According to the reports, the President delegated the Vice-President to make inputs to the recommendation of the AGF on the EFCC acting chairman.
In the communication with The PUNCH on Wednesday, Malami declined to comment on his recommendations and the contents of the report.
“It is a presidential document and the Presidency has the right to make statements over it and not the AGF,” he added.
Malami’s statement was in response to reports that he recommended that Magu should step aside while clearing Lawal of the allegations levelled against him.
Malami not blocked from meeting with Buhari —Presidency
A top government official confirmed to one of our correspondents on Wednesday that Malami submitted the report during an audience he had with the President on Friday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“I can confirm to you that the report is already with the President. The AGF submitted the report to the President on Friday,” the source said.
Although the source said he had no knowledge of the content of the report, he said “the President is studying it and he is already taking actions on it.”
He however did not say the kind of actions the President was already taking.
When contacted, the SSA to the President on Media and Publicity, Shehu, confirmed to one of our correspondents that the minister met with Buhari on Friday.
The presidential spokesman also denied media reports that Malami made attempts three times and was blocked from seeing the President.
“That report was not correct. Nobody around the President blocked the minister. In fact, they met on Friday,” he added.
The PUNCH gathered that apart from the Friday meeting, Malami also met with Buhari on Monday and Tuesday.
The Friday meeting between Malami and Buhari, which lasted for about an hour, took place inside the President’s office shortly after the President and some government officials observed the Jumat prayers inside a mosque located in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The PUNCH had, on Friday, reported exclusively that the AGF would meet Buhari and that the probe of the SGF and the EFCC acting chairman might form part of the discussions at the meeting.
The SGF’s problem started on December 14, 2016, when the Senate called for his removal and prosecution following allegations that he awarded contracts to a company, in which he had interest regarding projects in the Internally Displaced Persons’ camps in the North-East.
The call followed the presentation of the interim report of the Ad hoc Committee on Mounting Humanitarian Crisis in the North-East by the Chairman of the Committee, Shehu Sani.
Lawal was accused of contravening the provisions of the Public Procurement Act and the Federal Government’s Financial Rules and Regulations pertaining to the award of contracts.
Presenting the report, Sani said some of the contracts were awarded to companies belonging to top government officials’ cronies and family members.
He explained that the committee found out that Global Vision Engineering Limited, a company, with Lawal as Director, for instance, was awarded a consultancy contract.
Sani said despite being an IT company, the firm got a job to clear grass in an IDP camp in Yobe State for N200m.
He said although Babachir resigned as director of the said company in September 2016, it was on record that he was a signatory to the accounts of the company.
Lawal denied all the allegations, saying “the Senate is talking balderdash; it has developed a bring-him-down syndrome.”
For Magu, his travails started on December 15, 2016, when the Senate rejected his nomination as the EFCC chairman.
The senators cited a report by the DSS, which indicated that he could jeopardise Buhari’s anti-graft war.
The DSS report listed several alleged offences against the EFCC boss.
Part of the allegations against Magu was his being in possession of EFCC documents in his private residence during the chairmanship of Farida Waziri.
The DSS also made reference to the circumstances surrounding Magu’s arrest, detention and suspension by the Nigeria Police.
The DSS report also queried Magu’s closeness to a retired military officer and businessman and a top bank official, who the report identified as being under probe for corruption allegations. (Punchng.com)