N2billion slush fund mobilised to stop Ibrahim Magu’s confirmation?
*Aggrieved forces stopped Ibrahim Magu’s confirmation
*Governors, Senators, others behind the mask
It is the story of survival before regrets. Checks have revealed how threatened governors, senators and high-profile suspects have to form an unholy alliance to stop the confirmation of acting EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Magu, from being confirmed last week by the Senate.
Authoritative inside sources disclosed to www.gongnews.net that, the governors were angry with Magu over the ongoing probe of the alleged diversion of N19 billion from the London-Paris Club loan refund. The seven indicted governors have been at unease.
However, Magu had been met to agree to find political solution to the 10 Senators who have prosecution issues with the EFCC. His refusal made the Senators and their sympathisers on the floor to gang up and ensure that he does not pass the test.
The third class were some high profile persons either being investigated and those already standing trial. This confirmation offered them the opportunity to throw their massive social networth to frustrate Magu’s confirmation.
According to the source, Magu’s rejection was the product of conspiracy of aggrieved forces.
It was learnt that the N19billion was deducted from the N388.304billion, which was part of the N522.74 billion released to 35 states as refund of over-deductions on the London-Paris Club loans.
Following protests by states against over deductions for external debt service between 1995 and 2002, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the release of the first tranche to states as refund pending a reconciliation of records.
Each state was entitled to a cap of N14.5 billion being 25% of the amounts claimed. But EFCC through intelligence intercepted how N19billion was diverted to Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) accounts and some private accounts. Kwara State government had to issue a statement on Friday on the alleged involvement of the Senate President in the scandal.
A source said: “All attempts to prevail on Magu to halt the investigation failed and the governors have no choice than to engage in lobbying to truncate the confirmation.
“Although, the Borno state governor, Ibrahim Shettima did his best to persuade his colleagues to spare Magu, some of the governors vowed not to take the risk. At a point, the governors sent emissaries to the Acting EFCC chairman, including some government officials, but he did not shift ground.
“The position of the governors was that the Presidency was in the picture of the deductions from the loan refunds but the EFCC’s probe was seen as an embarrassment to them.
“Before Magu goes after them, they decided to stop his confirmation. These governors found willing partners in some National Assembly leaders who were implicated in the loan refund. They have called their stooges in the state to defend them.”
Beyond this, Magu is also paying for the invitation of the wife of the Senate President sometimes back. To them senators saw it as a desecration of the chamber. We felt seriously assaulted. There are heavy fears that Magu could become an uncontrollable gnome if and when confirmed.
“And the fears came to fore during the lobbying for confirmation when the Acting EFCC chairman refused to yield ground. Magu and a few others met with some of the Senators, led by a former governor from the Northeast, who demanded to know what EFCC will do on their cases.”
Magu was said to have told the lawmakers that the law will take its course. He was quoted as saying: “I cannot find solutions to these cases. Since that day, the hurdles against his confirmation became higher.
When Magu was met and he resisted the PDP senators did not mince words that the Acting EFCC chairman will not be confirmed because of alleged tilting of investigation towards opposition leaders. The ongoing subtle probe of the Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio and his wife by the EFCC was considered as an affront after Magu had lobbied the PDP Caucus.
Although two of the PDP senators met with Magu on Tuesday to assure him of likely clearance but the game plan changed overnight when the caucus took a position against Magu. When Dr Saraki and his House of Representatives met on the eve of the sitting, the matter did not come up for discussion..
Our source added: “The Acting EFCC chairman stepped on some fat toes. They have the wherewithal to fight Magu to a standstill. Senate politics is about influence wielding, building contacts and high-wire relationship. Unconfirmed sources disclosed to www.gongnews.net that about N2billion was mobilised to stop Magu’s confirmation.
It would recalled that Ibarhim Magu’s confirmation was first rejected on the 15th December, 2016.