The chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, has distanced himself from a newspaper report linking him to arms fraud.
In a statement issued by Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC’s head of Media and Publicity, Mr. Magu urged the Presidency to set up a “high-powered inquiry” to verify the claims of the report “in view of the gravity of the issues.”
The committee should also investigate those who had made it their sole business to impugn the integrity of others and cast doubt on the credibility of the anti-corruption war, the EFCC boss said.
Thisday newspaper reported on Monday that the State Security Service (SSS) had arrested a member of the Presidential Investigative Committee on Arms Procurement, Umar Muhammed, a retired Air Commodore, for alleged fraudulent deals involving top government officials.
The newspaper, quoting a “reliable source,” alleged that Mr. Muhammed was fronting for some high ranking officials within the EFCC and security agencies to carry out unwholesome activities.
At the end of their five-hour search on Mr. Muhammed’s Maitama residence in Abuja, the SSS seized $1.5 million in cash and various high-end cars, according to the Thisday report.
Mr. Magu is the only non-military member of the 13-man Presidential Arms Procurement Investigative Panel set up by President Muhammadu Buhari in August last year under the supervision of the Office of the National Security Adviser.
Mr. Magu said the report stopped short of mentioning him as the official of the anti-graft agency whom Mr. Muhammed was allegedly fronting for.
“The EFCC views with grave concern this spirited attempt to create doubts in the minds of less discerning Nigerians and member of the international community regarding the integrity of its acting Chairman,” the EFCC statement said.
“To all intent and purposes, this devious report is another avenue of corruption fighting back as some people have been uncomfortable with the uncompromising stance of the Acting EFCC Chairman in the fight against corruption.”
The EFCC stated that no official in the agency is “directly or remotely connected” with the work of the Arms Procurement Committee nor had had any dealings that verge on fraud with Mr. Muhammed or any other member of the Committee.
It challenged anybody with contrary information to come forward with the evidence.
“The EFCC as a body upholds zero tolerance for corruption and will not condone any act that amount to corruption,” the statement continued.
“If Muhammed is established to have engaged in any illegal activity, he should be held liable.
“No matter the distraction and attempt by dark forces to derail its work through negative propaganda, the Commission will continue to discharge the mandate freely given to it by the Nigerian people to hold all public officers accountable.”