Magu Could Not Account For 332 Recovered Properties, Sold Assets To Friends – Presidential Panel
Ibrahim Magu, suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has been accused of failing to give a proper account of missing 332 out of the 836 recovered real estate property in March 2018.
According to NAN, the latest allegation against the suspended EFCC boss is contained in a report of the Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets (PCARA).
The panel was set up by President Buhari to look into corruption allegations against Magu.
In the report, PCARA said the property Magu unaccounted for is worth billions of naira.
The panel alleged that recovered properties were taken over by some top EFCC officials or sold to Magu’s friends and cronies at giveaway prices.
The report partly reads;
The blatant display of arrogance and acquisition of illicit wealth has turned the EFCC into a glorified police station.
Despite massive recruitment of officers and men in recent years by the (suspended) acting chairman at the EFCC, he is still seconding police officers to the EFCC because he is comfortable with his fellow officers to carry out his illicit activities.
He does not have any exit strategy for the police even though the EFCC officers are more experienced in the investigation of economic and financial crimes.
The report listed the number of the affected properties suspected to have been illegally acquired as well as the bank accounts of those individuals serving as fronts for Magu.
The report added;
Most of the recovered assets are allegedly sold without anyone knowing and without proper records and without recourse to the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing that has the mandate to undertake evaluation of such property.
Some of the assets have been taken over by EFCC officials while some are sold at giveaway prices to friends and cronies of the Acting Chairman.
It is also on record that the (suspended) acting chairman is maintaining different accounts, including using proxies who return the benefit of the sold assets to him. These funds are then used to procure property and lands in the names of some of his proxies.
It also highlighted “massive wastage and deterioration” of physical assets including landed property, cars and vessels recovered by the EFCC due to poor management.
The report noted with concern the failure to preserve and realise the economic value of the recovered assets, noting that some of the assets were recovered over 15 years ago and left fallow.
A disturbing example is the two vessels that allegedly sunk at NNS Beecroft Naval BASE, Lagos and NNS Pathfinder Naval Base in Port Harcourt without trace under the watch of the acting Chairman of EFCC.
The vessels named MT GOOD SUCCESS, MV PSV DERBY and MV THAMES were allowed to sink in spite of several warnings from the Navy on the need to evacuate the petroleum products in the vessels. The total value of the assets lost due to the negligence runs into millions of US dollars. The (suspended) acting Chairman is yet to provide a report on what happened to these vessels.
Magu, who is currently facing charges of mismanagement and lack of transparency in managing recovered assets as well as flagrant disobedience to directives and to court orders, would be expected to provide answers to the conflicting figures.
The PCARA report also noted that the few consultants hired by EFCC were not managing a substantial number of the recovered assets and that the EFCC has no capacity to manage the entire assets on its own.
The committee, therefore, alerted the nation on the economic and environmental implications of this negligent of duty by the commission.
It equally observed that EFCC made conflicting submissions or returns to it in respect of the non-cash assets which substantially affected the committee’s assignment.
A part of report reads;
For instance, EFCC stated 836 as the number of Recovered Real Estate in the Original Returns it made to the President on 07/04/2017. However, in its 1st Returns to PCARA on 13/12/2017, EFCC short-changed the system and gave the figure of 339 thereby failing to account for 497 property.
It is interesting to note that when the Acting Chairman was further queried on this lapse, he made further contradictory 2nd return of 504 on 09/03/2018 thereby bridging the gap to 332 property.
The committee identified lack of internal control mechanisms/systems within EFCC and lack of adequate returns by EFCC departments and zonal offices as reasons for these discrepancies and inconsistencies by the commission.
The suspended EFCC boss was also alleged to have neglected and refused to comply with the regulations on the management of recovered assets in 2019, as he embarked on disposing of some of the property without regard to extant law.
According to the fresh report obtained by NAN, Magu and some top officials of EFCC were allegedly using these recovered assets to corruptly enrich themselves.