Abuja, July 7, 2020
The Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari has met with the Presidential Probe Panel investigating allegations of gross misconduct against acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.
This is as Mr Mohammed Umar, the Director of Operations, EFCC, has been picked to oversee the affairs of the agency in the absence of Magu.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the agenda of the meeting between Gambari and members of the panel headed by retired Justice Ayo Salami was unknown as at the time of filing this report.
NAN, however, gathered that the members of the panel used the opportunity of the meeting to congratulate Gambari over his appointment as the Chief of Staff to the President.
A presidency source had earlier confirmed that Magu was on Tuesday afternoon suspended from office following the ongoing investigation by the presidential panel.
According to the source, the suspension is meant to allow for probe into allegations against him.
NAN also gathered that Magu, who appeared before the panel on Monday and Tuesday, has been given two days to present his defence lawyers from Lagos.
The Presidency source had earlier maintained that the ongoing interrogation of Magu, is to clear him of weighty allegations leveled against him.
The source also stated that the probe of the anti-graft boss was an affirmation that nobody under “the present administration is above scrutiny’’.
He said that the investigation of the EFCC boss was to reinforce the Buhari administration’s commitment to transparency and accountability.
He affirmed that the holder of an elevated office such as the chairman of the EFCC must be above suspicion.
According to the source, the Buhari administration will not prejudge anyone because it can be counted on to uphold justice and fairness.
A top official of the commission disclosed the appointment of Mr. Umar to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday.
The source, who asked not to be named, said Umar was chosen by the “EFCC’s hierarchy” following the reported suspension of Magu.
The official, however, said that the commission had not received any official communication on the reported suspension.
Spokesman of the EFCC, Mr Dele Oyewale, declined comments when contacted by NAN to confirm the latest development.
The embattled acting chairman is being interrogated by a presidential panel set up to probe allegations of gross misconduct against him.
Magu appeared before the Ayo Salami-led panel on Monday before he was reportedly taken into police custody.
Meanwhile, the EFCC official has defended Magu against the allegations, saying they were not true.
However, the source said his travails also emanated from complaints by staff of the commission over poor welfare and delay in promotion.
“I can tell you that all the allegations against Magu are untrue. I see the whole situation as a power play.
“Preparations for the 2023 elections are another reason they want Magu out because he knows too much.
“Another thing is the problem of staff welfare, imagine somebody like me for close to 10 years, I have not gained any promotion.
“We are not happy about the news of his suspension, but I know that members of staff are not happy with him,” the official said.