…7 Untouchables accused of blackmail, extortion of money from suspects; appropriating exhibits, selling off forfeited/seized assets
…Asked to explain role in exploits of Ag. EFCC chairman
Interrogation of embattled Acting Chairman of the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu with the Presidential panel led by Justice Ayo Isa Salami grilling select operatives of the commission.
The operatives, referred to as “Magu’s Boys”, are said to be seven in number, and were grilled by the Presidential panel over their roles in the acting chairman’s exploits.
The seven operatives, also pejoratively called “The Untouchables” were accused of committing several atrocities, including allegedly blackmailing and extorting money from suspects, appropriating exhibits to themselves, and selling off forfeited or seized assets without remitting the proceeds to government coffers.
The activities of the “The Untouchables,” according to sources who confided in us, formed part of the allegations in the memo the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Meanwhile, Magu was brought to Aso Villa for further grilling by the panel, was also accompanied by his lawyer.
All the directors of the agency and the Secretary, Ola Olukayode, were also at the panel to say what they knew about the allegations against their boss.
Magu threatens hunger strike Apparently seeing that the Presidency may keep him in detention indefinitely until he answers allegations made against him by the Attorney-General.
The embattled Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, may go on a hunger strike. It was gathered that some politicians and other wealthy Nigerian and foreigners who alleged that they were duped by Magu and some operatives of the EFCC are said to have started forwarding petitions on how they were coerced to part with huge sums of money and property under the guise of recovering ill-gotten wealth.
Magu still being interrogated by the Justice Ayo Salami-led Presidential panel along with seven of his aides reportedly got into trouble after information got to the Presidency about some of his dealings both in and outside the country.
The informants, according to sources, gave detailed information that prompted a shocked Presidency to immediately order his arrest while a presidential panel was set up without delay.
According to sources, people in rarefied circles of power, in and outside the country put together the details and delivered to the Presidency, prompting his arrest.
A Presidency source said last night that Magu may not be released from detention until he responds satisfactorily to all allegations against him.
The source said, “You are aware that they (detectives) have searched his house. Detectives that carried out the search combed his house. It was after the search that they arrested seven of his aides as part of the probe.
“Justice Salami is simply carrying out stern instructions from the Presidency over the issue of Magu and it was after he discovered that it will be virtually impossible to grant him bail that Magu started threatening to go on hunger strike, with a view to drawing public sympathy.
“However, it was learned that when the Presidency got information about his plans to go on strike, in insisted that the embattled EFCC acting chairman will not be released until he returns all the money he was accused of stealing.”
Soft-landing bids fail Meanwhile, We gathered that frantic efforts made so far by highly-placed persons from various parts of the country close to Magu to seek soft landing for him have failed, as the Presidency is said to have insisted on carrying out a thorough investigation and getting to the root of the matter without minding whose ox was gored.
Police sources hinted that the team of investigators handling the matter had been directed by the Presidency not to compromise their investigations and that some of them will soon be dispatched abroad to comb banks where it was alleged Magu stashed huge sums of money.
However, the sources could not say whether Magu, a Commissioner of Police, is being detained inside a cell at the FCID, Zone 10, Abuja, or given special treatment by keeping him in one of the posh offices there.
At a sitting of the panel, a source close to the commission said the panel asked all the directors and sectional heads to submit, within seven days, all files of cases handled by the agency since 2015, as well as forfeited assets and cash releases.
Tough bail situation On bail, a source said that only the Presidential panel could grant him bail. Magu’s lawyer, Toni Ojaomo, had said he would seek his client’s bail but the source at police headquarters said since it was not the police that ordered his arrest, the force would also not be involved in his bail.
Recall that Magu is being detained on the ground floor of the Force Criminal Investigations Department, from where he is taken on a daily basis to the Presidential Villa where he is being grilled by the Justice Ayo Salami panel.
Investigations revealed that since Magu was arrested on the orders of the Presidential Panel which complained to the President about Magu’s disregard for its assignment, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu, directed the Force Criminal Investigations Department to get him arrested the source said:
“It is not the Force Criminal Investigations Department that is investigating Magu. It is the Presidential panel that is investigating him. It is the Presidential panel that can say if Magu should be granted bail.”
Recall that the panel confronted Magu with fresh allegations at Wednesday’s sitting, as he was asked to account for 380 seized houses, seven vessels loaded with crude oil, and disposal of assets worth N37 billion. Vanguard.