The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), on Wednesday alleged that “ignoble role” of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, led to the suspension of Nigeria from the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units.
A statement by the Special Assistant to Malami on Media and Publicity, alleged that Magu had frustrated efforts to make the National Financial Intelligence Unit independent of the EFCC as required by the global financial intelligence body.
The AGF stated that “the threat of expulsion from the Egmont Group” that might follow the suspension, “calls for a thorough review of the NFIU.”
He added that it also called for review of “the manner in which the EFCC leadership has manipulated and misused intelligence to the detriment of the fight against corruption and financial crimes in Nigeria.”
He narrated how Magu had frustrated bills sent by his office aimed at enhancing the anti-corruption fight and making the NFIU independent.
The statement titled, ‘EFCC ignoble role that led to Nigeria’s Egmont suspension’ stated in part, “…It is a sad tale to tell how the Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu-led EFCC has frustrated these efforts and even had to resort to blackmail in some instances oftentimes, alleging that the AGF and the ministry were all out to impede the government’s anti-corruption drive. Magu and other EFCC officials; and atimes through online publications; had at one time or the other accused the minister of trying to compromise the war.
“They have always perceived the Office of the AGF as a threat instead of addressing the issues related to the best strategy to fight corruption advocated by the AGF.
“For instance, during the House of Representatives Committee review session on 18th April, 2017, Magu vehemently rejected the new Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition Bill 2016 submitted by the President; which according to him, as reported by some national dailies; might prejudice President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption agenda. He even went on his whimsical best by surmising that passing the bill into law now will affect Nigeria’s application for the membership of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). What parody!
“In likewise, the EFCC is now in a state of paranoia, as it dreads the effort of the government to have an independent NFIU which it has stood against stoically since 2006.
“As it presently stands, the NFIU members of staff are all deployed by the EFCC to serve in the interest of whoever is its current chairman.
“This has to stop if it must conform to the new thinking and global best practices. Nigeria cannot be an island of its own.”
It said the EFCC “cannot fight corruption in isolation.”