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Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Buhari Sends EFCC Chair Lamorde on Terminal Leave, Bring in Magu


Acting EFCC Chairman Ibrahim Mustafa Magu like Lamorde, is also an assistant commissioner of police.
The man who is due to take over today, served as head of the EFCC’s Economic Governance Unit (EGU) during Nuhu Ribadu’s tenure.

He is a trained financial crimes investigator with background in forensic accounting. He also trained at the FBI institute and the London Metropolitan Police Institute.
Magu gained public attention when he led many high profile investigations against some former governors.  He is a member of the investigative committee probing the $2billion arms purchase deals during the Jonathan administration.
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman Ibrahim Lamorde was set yesterday to wave a final bye to his prized job.
President Muhammadu Buhari,  a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said, approved Mr. Ibrahim Magu’s appointment as acting chairman of the anti-graft agency. Lamorde is going on terminal leave.
“Mr. Magu, who is an Assistant Commissioner of Police, is to take over from Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, who is proceeding on terminal leave ahead of the formal expiration of his tenure in February, next year,” the statement said.
Magu headed the agency’s investigation unit during the tenure of pioneer chairman Mallam Nuhu Ribadu.
Magu, a crack detective, is a member of the panel probing the $2billion military arms deal during the tenure of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
According to a Presidency source, Lamorde’s exit was conveyed to him early in the day but his exit was handled  with dignity by the President.
A source, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, said: “The EFCC chairman has been removed following some allegations against him and security report.
“The Senate is looking into alleged mismanagement of N1.3trillion recovered by the anti-graft agency. The Presidency was uncomfortable with some disclosures by the petitioner, George Uboh.
“While the government does not want to tamper with the ongoing probe by the Senate, it believes it is untidy to allow the EFCC chairman to be rubbished. It is better for Lamorde to step aside.”
Another factor, which was said to have accounted for the exit of Lamorde was a security report on his alleged relationship with some former officials of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
It was gathered that the Presidency was angry that the EFCC did not take action on former Minister of Petroleum Resources Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke until the National Crimes Agency in the United Kingdom invited her for questioning.
The government’s thinking, it was learnt, was that there were sufficient grounds to prevent Diezani from travelling to the UK.
It was also learnt that the EFCC bid its time in managing the investigation of former Akwa Ibom Governor Godswill Akpabio when sister agencies raised the alarm.
Akpabio led the PDP Caucus in the Senate to defend Lamorde when the allegation of N1.3trillion fraud was made.
A statement was signed  by Akpabio, Sen. Phillip Aduda and Sen. Emmanuel Bwacha.
It said: “The PDP leadership in the Senate is not against any committee of the Senate performing its oversight duties and or functions but we feel that this is not the appropriate time to embark on this most important assignment, particularly since this same action was mooted and has failed at previous plenary session.
“We therefore urge the committee to suspend its public hearing on this particular matter until further notice.”
The EFCC  has battled in the last few months to protect its  image and that of Lamorde.
It said there was no diversion of either cash or assets seized from a former Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun and former Bayelsa Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha.
The commission said Balogun forfeited N2, 258,100,516.87 in 11 accounts, including accruing interest.
It also said the N3, 128, 230, 294.83 realised from the assets of Alamieyeseigha was remitted to the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Finance in favour of Bayelsa State.
The EFCC made the clarifications through  its Head of Media and Publicity, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, against the backdrop of allegations by a whistle-blower, Uboh.
Uboh had in a petition to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition claimed that Lamorde and EFCC could not account for over N1trillion.
But the EFCC said the cash and assets seized from the two convicts were intact.
As part of the security report, a petition by a lawyer, Leo Ekpenyong  to President Muhammadu Buhari was also said to have triggered Lamorde’s exit.
Ekpenyong said in part: “It would be recalled that sequel to my petitions against the former Governor Akpabio’s administration dated 8th, 22nd June and August 3rd respectively, the Senate Minority leader was invited by the EFCC and after his departure from the Commission he bragged to his supporters that Lamorde was under his control and nothing reasonable would come out of his investigation.
“ It was against this  background that I raised the alarm, urging the Federal Government to sack Lamorde since it was apparent that justice would not be done to our petitions taking into consideration the deliberate and unnecessary delays at investigations and possible prosecution.
”During my interview on a guest show (O and M) televised by AIT, I accused Ibrahim Lamorde of having interests in contracts awarded by Akwa Ibom State government. This fact Senator Akpabio mentioned to me on June 22nd, 2015.
”Ostensibly angered by this allegation, Lamorde summoned me on October 26th via the head of its economic governance unit and for nine (9) hours battled by compulsion to get me recant my allegation and withdraw my petitions against Akpabio. I stood my ground and maintained that the EFCC leadership was “hand in gloves” with Senator Godswill Akpabio.
”On November 2nd, one DSP Chuks Ibe from the FCT Police Command invited me to answer to a petition written against me by Lamorde. During the course of this interrogation, DSP Chuks Ibe dictated how I should write my statement and personally informed me of his interactions with Senator Godswill Akpabio.
“Consequently, on November 5th, 2015 during my routine interview session at the FCT Command, I was led before the Gudu District Upper Area Court on a malicious charge of defamation and giving false information.
”The excruciating persecution between the EFCC and the police reveals the conspiracy theory involving the trio of Godswill Akpabio, IGP Solomon Arase and Ibrahim Lamorde.”
There was also concern last night that Lamorde’s running battle with a former acting director of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit(NFIU), Juliet Ibekaku, accounted for his removal.
“The crisis of confidence between Lamorde and Ibekaku was dirty. She made many documents available to the Presidency, “ said an insider.
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