1st News can confirm that some of Nigeria’s economic partners have taken an avid interest in the ongoing inquest into corruption allegations against the suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.
Amongst these countries are the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, France as well as Switzerland.
Magu has been in detention for over a week after he was arrested in Abuja and likewise dragged to appear before the Justice Isa Ayo Salami Presidential Investigation Panel, which is probing allegations levelled against him by Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami.
However, he has repeatedly denied the allegations levelled against him with the latest being his failure to account for the interest in the N550 billion recovered fund kept in CBN’s custody.
This was also contained in a statement issued by his lawyer, Wahab Shittu, who explained that such recovered fund kept with the Central Bank of Nigeria do not generate interest.
The statement said: “It is falsehood that Magu placed N550 billion recovered loot into a deposit account.
“The alleged transaction never featured in the proceedings before the Salami panel. Magu was never confronted with any such allegation by the panel and the news is blatant falsehood.”
“To the best of Magu’s knowledge, no such amount is in any such account and he remains aghast at such outrageous figures. No one has confronted Magu with such allegations.
“All recovered funds are lodged in the Treasury Single Account (TSA) with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Such recovered funds do not generate interest. This is elementary and can be verified from the CBN and the federal ministry of finance.”
“This can also be confirmed from other government revenue generating agencies. Funds kept in TSA account do not generate interest.”
It was further gathered that the interest of these partners is also connected to some cases which Nigeria is collaborating upon with them.
Looted funds, which Nigeria is battling to recover, were stashed away in some of these countries.
According to a top diplomatic source, some of these nations are taking their time to monitor what is going on which is why they have not issued a joint statement on the development in EFCC.
The source said: “Despite the fact that we have our individual intelligence on the development in your country, we are sitting and watching what is going on at the investigative committee.
“We want to know if the allegations against Magu are true; if the process of investigation is in conformity with international best practices; whether there is fair hearing and the implications of the challenge at hand for the anti-corruption campaign in your country.
“We are as curious as every Nigerian in knowing the truth about all these allegations. Ultimately, we desire strict commitment to the Rule of Law; social Justice; upholding the fundamentals of democracy and human rights; fairness and equity to all and a corruption-free Nigeria.”
An expert in one of the international agencies also said: “All members of the Diplomatic Corps; global financial institutions; and also donor agencies are interested in the ongoing investigation of EFCC’s activities under Magu.
“We have been comparing notes at the diplomatic level, especially by countries like the UK; the U.S.; France; Switzerland; Italy; UAE; as well as others. We are giving all the parties the benefit of the doubt; even though the activities of some political office holders are predictable in this circumstance.
“Whatever is the outcome, it will assist in reaching conclusions on where Nigeria is headed in fighting corruption and ensuring justice.”
Also at the weekend, a global coalition against corruption wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari over Magu’s travails.
It alleged that the former EFCC boss may be “a pawn in the desperate attempts by corrupt officials to kill the EFCC; or turn the agency into a willing tool of corrupt politicians.”