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Ikoyi Whistle-blower Would Run Mad If Given His Money Immediately- Sagay

ItseSagay
Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN)

Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), says the Federal Government does not want the whistle-blower who informed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of the N13bn in an Ikoyi apartment to run mad.

Sagay said the government believed he needed to be adequately counselled and this was the reason his commission was delayed.

The senior advocate said this during an interview with our correspondent on Monday.

Sagay said if the commission, which the whistle-blower claims is N860m, was given to him immediately; he probably would have squandered it within a month or two.

Sagay said, “What I gathered from my inquiry is that the man is not sufficiently stable to receive such a huge sum of money. He is like someone who will almost run mental when he gets the money and will use it in an irresponsible manner, attracting not only undesirable people but even danger to himself.

“I think what they wanted to do for him was to provide counsellors. Not just counsellors for character and mental situation but counsellors who would be like consultants that would help him to really invest the money and plan in such a way that he doesn’t throw it away in five minutes.

“They are trying to help him. Nobody is denying him anything. They are trying to help him but he just misunderstands the intention and like everyone that has been deprived for a long time, he is so desperate to have it but from what I can see, if they just give him everything, it won’t last more than a month or two because so many people will start finding ways to get to him and taking their portions from him. So, they were just trying to help him but he became hysterical.”

Sagay hailed the Federal Government’s decision to pay the whistle-blower in tranches, adding that such a method of payment would deter him from spending it all at once.

The PACAC chairman said it was also the responsibility of the government to ensure that the whistleblower did not become a nuisance.

He added, “It is better to pay him in tranches. I agree with the government because if not, he will throw it away. This is valuable money that government could have used for millions of unemployed and wretchedly poor people.

“One man is getting it and he just wants it so that he can blow it all in five minutes? No, the government has a responsibility to see that his excitement does not end in seeing the money being thrown away irresponsibly. So, I agree with the government.”

The lawyer of the whistle-blower, Yakubu Galadima, however, said the government’s intentions were suspect.

Galadima wondered why the government did not question his client’s mental capacity when he was giving the EFCC information on the money.

The lawyer said even if his client was mental, he still deserved to be given his due.

He said, “As far as I am concerned, if the money is not paid by the end of this month, I am ready to tell the whole world but if they act favourably, their image will be redeemed.

“Does Prof. Sagay have contact with my client? Doesn’t my client have relatives that can take care of him? Even a mad man is entitled to his estate so what are they talking about? That is not an excuse as far as I am concerned.”  (Punch)

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Buhari’s Anti-corruption Panel Lambasts Presidency, Judiciary, Says AGF, Others Unserious About Graft War

 ItseSagay
Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN)

..says AGF, others not serious about graft war

•Lawyers sponsor judges’ children’s weddings –Sagay

ENIOLA AKINKUOTU

Two prominent members of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption in Abuja on Saturday picked holes in government’s handling of the anti-corruption war.

Speaking in Abuja at a programme organised by the National Association of Seadogs (the Pyrates Confraternity), the Chairman of the panel, Professor Itse Sagay (SAN), and member, Professor Femi Odekunle, attributed recent setbacks suffered by the administration in the prosecution of corruption cases to the fraudulent activities of compromised elements in the judiciary and legislature, and a lack of diligence on the part of some senior government officials.

The Chairman of the committee, Prof. Itse Sagay, said the President and his team must come up with new ideas to fight corruption.

He said the judiciary was concentrating more on technicalities rather than the spirit of the law and justice.

Sagay said, “The Federal Government, particularly the President and Vice-President, who were elected into office principally to eliminate corruption, must go back to their drawing board, search and scan the constitution and other laws to draw the requisite irresistible power to deal firmly with this terrible scourge of our times – otherwise we are all dead.”

The senior advocate said the National Judicial Council was not equipped to look into corruption cases against judges. He said the primary duty of the NJC was to address judicial misdemeanour.

The PACAC chairman said before 1999, Nigeria had many incorruptible judges like Justice Kayode Eso, Justice Chukwudifu Oputa, Justice Mohammed Bello, Justice Chike Idigbe, Justice Adetunji Adefarasin, Justice Mason Begho and others

Sagay, however, said corruption pervaded the judicial system after the return to democracy in 1999 when judges started hearing election petition cases.

He noted that many senior advocates had corrupted and compromised judges to the extent that some of the advocates now pay the school fees of children of judges.

Sagay added, “Today, some judges actually solicit for money. They don’t even wait to be offered money. One of the judges that have been asked by the NJC to go back to work is a constant solicitor of money. He writes to counsel, ‘my mother died yesterday, I need money to bury her.’

“Two months later, ‘my daughter is getting married next month, I need money to organise a wedding: Another month, the same judge will write, ‘my uncle has just been made a chief and I need to make a contribution, send money.’

“This is written to lawyers and the lawyers gladly contribute. In fact, there is a long list of lawyers now who have to go to the EFCC at least once a month to explain why they had to send so much money to the account of one judge or the other who demanded money.

“Some lawyers do it out of a sense of obligation while some lawyers do it for consideration of future favours. It just shows you how (low) our judges have sunk.”

Sagay said his committee had drafted a bill for the ‘Forfeiture of Assets and Properties, procured by unlawful activity (proceeds of crimes)’ which will empower courts to order forfeiture of properties by a person without the person being convicted.

The senior advocate said he had advised anti-graft agencies to use non-conviction based assets recovery system to fight graft in some peculiar cases.

He said in such a situation, anybody who was found in possession of huge sums of money, whose source he or she could not explain, would be made to explain themselves in court.

Sagay said this approach was used by the EFCC in the case against Patience, the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, whose $15m has been forfeited to the Federal Government and is now battling to save the $5m found in her bank account.

The PACAC chairman added, “If you are seen to be living beyond your means of livelihood, the anti-graft agencies could apply for temporary forfeiture of funds and properties and you would then be made to appear in court to explain yourself.

“That bill is already before the National Assembly but we are not even waiting for it to be passed. A part of the EFCC Act empowers the agency to do this and it is already being done in the case of Patience Jonathan’s $15m.

“You will recall recently that when $5m which she owns was frozen in her account but was later unfrozen due to technical issues, the EFCC went back to court to apply through this non-conviction based forfeiture and got it frozen again. Now she has to come to court to explain how she got it.”

Also speaking, Odekunle, in particular, questioned the commitment of the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to the anti-graft war and also raised a doubt about the integrity of the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Mr. Danladi Umar, who discharged and acquitted Senate President Bukola Saraki of all 18 charges levelled against him, on Wednesday.

The professor of criminology also questioned the resolve of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, to help the Federal Government in the fight against corruption.

The event titled, ‘Feast of Barracuda’, had ‘Critical Review of the Anti-Corruption War in Nigeria: Strategies, Challenges and Prospects’, as its theme.

While exploring the theme, Odekunle, raised eight salient questions which he said members of the public must answer in order to put the recent failures of the anti-graft war in proper perspective.

He asked, “Does the Presidency realise that routine crime prevention and methodology, instruments and processes are not adequate in fighting corruption in this country? That is, does the Presidency realise that fighting corruption must be a ‘rofo rofo’ fight? That it is not a question of due process, long process, fair hearing and all those that will give you technical justice instead of real justice?

“It is said that he who comes to equity must come with clean hands. In this regard, I ask, what were the details and the resolution of the EFCC matter on Danladi Umar’s bribery case? I don’t know, I’m just asking. Does the DSS possess any information about Danladi Umar on the use or abuse of hard drugs?

“Is there any record that Danladi Umar had been driving and crashing his car under the influence? These are questions that I don’t know the answers to but I want you to investigate.

“Is the Attorney-General of the Federation, who is to lead the anti-corruption fight, going by the way things have been going in the past two years, as committed as others who could have done the job better?

“I have no answers but I believe if they are answered, it will give us an insight into the cause of our current dilemma in the fight against corruption.”

Odekunle urged the Federal Government to use unconventional methods in the fight against corruption, saying it would never win if it continued to use what he described as conventional methods.

He said since the corrupt elite controlled the judiciary and the legislature, this group of people would continue to protect its own.

Odekunle added, “So, all this arrangee between the judiciary, the legislators, and people are saying, ‘We don’t want the APC to be destroyed, Saraki is our own, let us settle our own, party supremacy is better’, we must moderate that.”  (Punchng.com)

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I Won’t Honour Senate Summons, They’ve No Right To Invite Me-Sagay

ItseSagay

Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN)

Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), says the Senate lacks the power to summon him.

He, therefore, lambasted the lawmakers for attempting to flex constitutional muscles which he said they did not possess.

The Senate had on Wednesday proposed to invite Sagay for saying that senators were irresponsible and childish during an interview with The PUNCH.

However, the senior advocate maintained that he was not misquoted in The PUNCH report and therefore stood by his claim. He said he had not received any letter from the upper legislative chamber.

The law professor said the senators were ignorant of Section 88 of the 1999 Constitution.

He said, “I am waiting for the Senate summons. In any case, they don’t have the remotest of powers or authority to summon me because their power to summon people is very limited if you look at Section 88 and Section 89 of the constitution.

“I don’t fall under the category of people that they can summon. I am not operating any federal programme to which they have voted money. They are not investigating me based on anything for which they have voted money. So, there is nothing they can do about it.

“I expressed my personal view and if you feel very strongly about it, you can go to court and sue for defamation. That is the best anybody can do but to say I should come before the Senate committee based on an accusation by the same Senate committee which is going to act as a judge in the same case? It will charge me and judge me? It is unconstitutional and illegal.”               (Punchng.com)

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Presidency Keeps Silent As Senate Blocks Ibrahim Magu Again

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Ibrahim Magu

 

John Alechenu, Olusola Fabiyi, Eniola Akinkuotu, Leke Baiyewu and Olaleye Aluko

The Senate has requested that President Muhammadu Buhari nominate a replacement for the Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, following the rejection of his nomination by the legislature on Wednesday.

The upper chamber of the National Assembly said the rejection had ended Magu’s chairmanship of the EFCC in acting capacity.

The decision was based on a security report on Magu by the Department of State Services.

Magu, however, denied the allegations against him in the report, saying the DSS never invited him to defend himself, urging the lawmakers to disregard the report.

After all questions had been asked, President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki, who presided over the plenary, asked the Clerk to the Senate to confirm how many letters were received from the DSS.

He said, “Only one letter was received in my office on the 3rd of October, 2016, from the Department of State Services. Only one letter was received. The one of yesterday (Tuesday) was actually sent because a request was made again after the renomination. The one of yesterday, dated 14th March, 2017, was to reaffirm the content of the earlier letter.”

There were reports that the DSS issued two conflicting reports on Magu; one was addressed to the Clerk of the Senate, while the other was sent through the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, who had refused to comment on the second letter when he was asked by journalists.

The Senate President, thereafter, put Magu’s nomination to voice vote and the nays had it.

Angered by the rejection, former Majority Leader of the Senate, Senator Ali Ndume, raised a point of order, in which he accused the Senate of double standard.

He said, “Yesterday, we got a letter from Nigeria Customs Service, signed by an Assistant Comptroller General (and sent) to the Clerk. We said that was not the right thing to do.

“This letter or report should have been written and signed by the Director-General of the DSS. By the wish of God and nature of democracy, the majority will have their way and the minority will have their say. All I am saying is that there are two letters here.”

Saraki, however, ruled Ndume out of order.

Melaye also moved a motion, saying, “The consequence of the decision of the Senate to reject the nomination of Mr. Ibrahim Magu, I therefore move that the Senate, by resolution, ask the highest public officer in the EFCC to take over the leadership of the EFCC.”

Saraki, in his response, said, “The decision we have taken today is that we have not confirmed Ibrahim Magu as the chairman and, as such, it goes to show that it requires for the President to renominate another candidate. And in the interim, of course, somebody else will have to carry on that exercise.”

The Presidency, however, refused to state the next step it would take as a result of Magu’s rejection.

Although the Senate did not screen Magu in the first attempt to confirm his nomination on January 25, 2017, the lawmakers had stopped the process based on the DSS report on him, which it said was negative.

Among others, the DSS in the first letter, accused Magu of breaching the EFCC protocol by being in possession of the EFCC documents in his private residence during the chairmanship of Farida Waziri.

The DSS also cited his arrest, detention and suspension by the Nigeria Police. It also made a reference to Magu’s lifestyle, alleging that an individual paid N40m for the EFCC’s boss residence in Abuja.

The Senate, after rejecting Magu’s nomination in January, had communicated the rejection to the President.

But Buhari, in his response to the Senate, said the issues raised on Magu had been clarified and urged the lawmakers to confirm him as Chairman of the EFCC.

Consequently, the Senate discreetly wrote the DSS on March 7, 2017, asking for a new report on Magu.

Magu can’t head EFCC, DSS insists

The DSS replied the Senate on Tuesday, insisting on its earlier report on Magu.

The new letter read, “Your letter, NASS/CS/SA/01/17/08/02, dated 7th March, 2017, requesting security report on the above named nominee, refers.

“The security report being requested on Ibrahim Magu Mustapha, the nominee for the Executive Chairmanship position of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, has already been submitted to the Senate via this service’s letter No. SV.114/2 of 3rd October, 2016, containing 14 paragraphs.”

The letter was signed by one F. O. Adams on behalf of the Director-General, DSS.

Reports cannot be ignored—Senators

The lawmakers, who drilled Magu for about two hours during the confirmation hearing for his appointment on Wednesday, insisted that the issues raised by the DSS could not be ignored.

Senator Dino Melaye, after several lawmakers had asked various questions to which Magu responded, recalled that there were two letters from the DSS, which had placed a moral burden on the EFCC boss.

He said, “Mr. Ibrahim Magu, nominee for the position of the chairmanship of the EFCC, having gone through these reports; the first report indicted you but, because of the letter from Mr. President, you are here again. Just yesterday, this report was received from the DSS. Paragraph 14 of that report reads thus: ‘In the light of the foregoing, Magu has failed the integrity test and will eventually constitute a liability to the anti-corruption drive of the present administration.’

“I conclude that there is a case right now in the police station, which you are aware of, where EFCC people raided a particular house and C of Os were taken and those C of Os were found in the market; and police have investigated and two of the C of Os have been returned to the owner.

“Under your watch as EFCC Chairman, do you still think you, after this report and as a result of what has happened to the C of Os of an innocent Nigerian, are qualified to be the Chairman of EFCC or we take you to Golgotha?”

Also, Senator Barnabas Gemade pointed out that there were “three major accusations” in the DSS report, “one which is dealing with security fact and the second one is that one Air Commodore Umar Mohammed secured accommodation for you, and the third one is an issue of integrity.”

He added, “They say that perception is very important and this issue is of integrity. They said Umar, whom I do not personally know, is a dubious personality and this report, therefore, tends to show that your friendship with this Umar Mohammed indicates that your integrity is also in question and you have not responded to that matter. As a senator, who is Umar Mohammed and what is your relationship with him?”

Magu slams DSS over reports

Magu, in his response, dismissed the DSS reports. He also said he knew Mohammed only when both of them were appointed as members of a presidential committee which probed the Nigerian military.

He said, “This paper (report he was holding) is the same paper (Melaye read). I have read it. There were two reports of such submitted to this office the same day and there were two of such reports submitted by the same law enforcement agency; two different reports submitted the same day about the same people. That goes to tell you the credibility of such an institution.

“I have respect for everybody in this hall (chamber) and I have senior brothers in this hall. Elder Gemade, please, what does it mean if an institution can submit two varying reports on the same person on the same day. Dino is my friend and we were fighting corruption together until he came to this house here and abandoned us. I have to be open.

“On the case with the stolen C of Os, it is not everything that is done in the EFCC that I have knowledge of. The EFCC is too big. Believe you me, if not now, I didn’t know there was a case pending against EFCC staff in police station. I will now go back and investigate it and give you  feedback after my investigation.

“My relationship with Air Commodore Umar Mohammed (retd.); I didn’t know him from Adam until we were appointed as members of the armed forces investigation panel; that was the first time I knew Umar Mohammed. The house I am staying actually belonged to the late (former Minister of Information) Dora Akunyili. After her burial, her son, who was staying in the US, was looking for money. That was how the house was got. It was rented. They call it ‘safe house.’

PDP, APC, Sagay, others react

Meanwhile, the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party said the Senate had the right to either reject or accept the nomination of Magu as the chairman of the EFCC.

Acting National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Bernard Mikko, stated the party’s position in an interview with our correspondent.

Mikko, a former member of the House of Representatives, said, “It is the right of the senators to either reject or accept Magu, but we need to fight corruption in this country.  Corruption is the major problem of Nigeria.

“We should join the Federal Government to fight the menace. I don’t want to believe that we must personalise the office of the chairman of the agency.”

But the National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Mallam Bolaji Abdulllahi, said Magu’s confirmation was not a matter for the party.

“Magu’s confirmation is not a matter for the party. We don’t want to politicise a routine administrative and constitutional process.

“However, we are confident that Mr. President’s commitment to fight corruption will proceed earnestly, regardless of who eventually gets appointed as the head of any of the anti-corruption agencies,” the APC spokesman added.

Also, the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay, slammed the Senate for refusing to confirm the appointment of Magu.

Sagay, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, added that Magu could continue to head the EFCC despite being rejected twice by the Senate.

He said this during an interview with one of our correspondents on Wednesday.

He added, “Members of the Senate know that Magu is an upright man, a man of integrity. They know he is fit for the job to fight corruption. Therefore the Senate’s decision to do what is wrong is for reasons which we do not need to guess.

“It is a perverse decision, they have done their worst but the only consequence is that Magu will continue to be acting chairman instead of substantive chairman but his power will remain intact.

“He can continue acting, of course. The President has the power to appoint an acting chairman. The Senate only confirms that appointment to make him chairman but the appointing authority is still the President so they cannot stop the President from appointing an acting chairman.”

But human rights lawyer, Mr. Mike Ozekhome (SAN), argued that it would be morally inexplicable for Buhari to nominate Magu as the acting Chairman of the EFCC for a third time after being rejected by the Senate twice.

Ozekhome said this in a statement titled, ‘‘The legal and moral issues of the second and final rejection of confirmation of Magu as EFCC chairman’’.

The senior advocate said, “Re-presenting his (Magu’s) name will raise more questions than answers as to why the insistence on one man. This is unlike the first instance when the Senate merely turned him down without any screening.

“That it was done shortly after the celebrated arrival of President Buhari from his medical vacation makes it more interesting and more significant as it underlines the independence of the legislature, the Senate.

“It is high time President Buhari looked for another competent Nigerian out of about 180 million people in the population.’’

On his part, the Chairman of the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, Mr. Debo Adeniran, condemned the Senate’s fresh rejection of Magu.

Adeniran stated, “The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has also not demonstrated the capacity to defend the allegations of corruption and anticipatory declaration of assets for which he is being prosecuted and other sundry allegations that are still hanging like the sword of Damocles on his neck.

“The senate seems to be working in connivance with the Department of State Services.

“If Magu committed corruption crimes as a public official, the DSS report would have been forwarded to the ICPC. If it was fraud, it would have been forwarded to the Special Fraud Unit.’’   (Punchng.com)

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