The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has reacted to the allegation against its Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu by the United States Senate Chairman, Committee on Finance, Charles E. Grassley, on Sani Abacha loot.
The Commission maintains that it is at the forefront of the transparent management of recovered funds and would not be dragged into any controversy over an allegation that has no fact or any iota of proof.
The Republican Senator had in a letter dated April 1, 2020, and addressed to the Chief Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section of the US Department of Justice, Deborah Connor, accused Magu of “detaining individuals who have spoken against the Buhari government”.
EFCC spokesman, Tony Orilade, in a statement on Friday, said the allegation has no bearing with the operations of the EFCC nor does it address the efforts of Magu in tackling the menace of corruption.
He noted that the EFCC is involved in the processes of repatriation of the looted $300million by the late former Head of State, Gen Sani Abacha and was aware of the tripartite agreement involving Nigeria, the United States and the Island of Jersey.
He said the Commission has ”credible records of managing recovered funds and assets and it is rather unfortunate that the ranking US Senator, in a desperate bid to frustrate the repatriation of the funds, clearly embraced the well-worn antics of some unscrupulous elements in the country, who never succeeded in blackmailing the anti-corruption crusade of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Even the harshest detractors of Mr. Magu know and always acknowledge his firm and bold handling of the anti-corruption fight which continues to earn him accolades within and outside Nigeria.
“Only recently, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, gave an Award of Excellence to Mr. Magu for his unique role in a joint field operation codenamed ‘Operation Rewired’. The operation yielded great results internationally in tackling the menace of cyber-crime.”, it read.
Orilade said it was worrisome that a high-ranking US lawmaker of the status of Grassley could not get his facts rightly nor establish a credible premise of attacking an FBI-celebrated Magu.
“Would the FBI have come out to acknowledge the effectiveness and credibility of the EFCC under Magu’s watch, if such allegation of oppressing opposition to President Buhari’s government had any merit?
“Besides, only recently, former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke (SAN), and an opposition PDP politician, poured encomiums on Magu on the visible achievements of the EFCC under his watch.
“It would interest Sen Grassley to know that three former governors who are ranking members of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, which is President Buhari’s party, are currently serving jail terms for corruption. Is the EFCC also persecuting members of the President’s party?”
EFCC added that Grassley lacked any sound basis for linking the EFCC and Magu with any oppressive or separatist agenda against government opposition.
The said records of EFCC convictions are in the public domain, cases before the courts and can be subjected to analysis and scrutiny.