By Emmanuel Afonne
An NGO, United Global Resolve for Peace (UGRFFP), has described as timely the indefinite suspension of Mr Ibrahim Magu as Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr Shalom Olaseni, Executive Director, UGRFFP, who commended the President for suspending Magu, said in a statement in Abuja on Thursday that his removal would give room for thorough investigation into series of allegations leveled against him.
Olaseni stated that Buhari’s intervention was timely to shore up waning public confidence in the commission
He said that Magu’s reign allegedly became untenable and repulsive in the face of grave allegations of corruption and mismanagement of recovered public funds.
“The office of EFCC Chairman is one which must be high above reproach and any semblance of moral turpitude, therefore making the suspension of Magu a necessary action to protect the agency’s troubled image.
“The alleged underlying factors which led to Magu’s removal revolved around allegations of personal enrichment, subversion of the course of justice in particular cases prosecuted by the EFCC and insubordination to the oversight authority of the Ministry of Justice.
“These are strong albeit unproven allegations, and lend weight to the argument that a system with weak institutions is a breeding ground for corruption,” Olaseni said.
According to him, the Presidential Investigative Panel must not be derailed by political manipulations and permutations during its investigation of the former EFCC boss.
He also called on the National Assembly to step into the investigation through its Financial Propriety Committee in exercise of its oversight power of review of executive actions.
“This is to safeguard against an abuse of the entire process and further ensure that a trial or arraignment, where the investigations so recommend, will be backed by substantial body of evidence.
“This will indeed send a significant message to intending abusers of their public offices that it is no longer business as usual, and that there are indeed no hiding places in the extant laws and procedural systems of Nigeria.
“It is commendable that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, was an arrowhead in bringing to light the serious corruption infractions of the suspended former chairman of the EFCC.
“It is only a necessary outcome given that the Ministry of Justice has the power of oversight over the EFCC, but one which takes grit and sense of propriety for consequential actions to be taken when obligatory.
“It is, however, regrettable that Ibrahim Magu’s alleged infractions against constituted authority and insubordination against the legal superintendence of the ministry of justice was allowed to fester for as long as it did.
“This is why it is imperative that a watchdog system is put in place to forestall the continual abuse of power that has been recorded in the office of the EFCC Chairman from Mrs Farida Waziri, Ibrahim Lamorde to the now suspended Ibrahim Magu,” Olaseni added.
He urged the ministry of justice to put in place, a mechanism that would always monitor the abuse of powers and privileges of the EFCC chairman’s office regardless of how highly connected the individual occupying the office.
“It is hoped that such mechanism will check the abuse of powers and privileges of office that has become the curse of all former heads of the EFCC.
“It has been variedly said that without strong watchdog institutions, impunity becomes the very foundation upon which systems of corruption are built.
“If impunity is not demolished, all efforts to bring an end to corruption are in vain,” he added. (NAN)