The suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu has been in detention, following the allegations of fraud leveled against him by the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
Ibrahim Magu took over as acting boss of the EFCC late in 2015, after his predecessor, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde was sacked.
As an acting chairman of the EFCC, for five years, the Nigerian Senate refused severally to confirm Ibrahim Magu.
Explaining the reason behind the decision, the Senate said that the security report available to Parliament showed that Magu is not fit to be chairman of the antigraft body.
Addressing journalists at the National Assembly, Senate Spokesman, Aliyu Abdullahi said that based on security reports, the Senate cannot proceed to confirm the acting EFCC Chairman.
There was an initial challenge put up by Magu’s lawyers contesting the Senate’s authority to deny his appointment, however, a Federal High Court in Abuja ruled that the Senate is conferred with the authority to ensure the choice of “only suitable and credible persons for appointment to the office”.
Following the refusal to confirm Magu as EFCC Chairman, several calls were made seeking his removal but none of the calls got a positive nod.
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A major attempt to remove Magu as acting head of the EFCC in 2019 failed, after the Federal High Court in Abuja dismissed some suits to this effect.
The plaintiffs had sought Magu’s removal on the grounds that the Senate had twice rejected his appointment and refused to screen him to take up the position in a substantive capacity.
They argued that Mr. Magu, who has been acting as the EFCC chairman since 2015, after being rejected by the senate, was not fit to continue to serve in that capacity.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu held that there was a lacuna in the law by not providing for the timeframe within which a person could act as EFCC’s chairman.
According to her, Ibrahim Magu in office in substantive capacity without the Senate confirmation, it had given the President as the appointor “the proverbial yam and the knife to do as he pleases” with the appointment of the EFCC chairman.