MORE than six months after the suspension of Ibrahim Magu as acting chairman of the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), President Muhammadu Buhari has nominated Abdulrasheed Bawa as substantive chair of the anti-graft commission.
This is contained in a letter sent to the Nigerian Senate by Buhari on Tuesday, according to a statement by Femi Adesina, special assistant to the president on media and publicity.
Adesina said the letter addressed to Ahmad Lawan, Senate president, was seeking confirmation of Bawa as the EFCC chairman in accordance with Paragraph 2(3) of Part1, CAP E1 of EFCC Act 2004.
According to Adesina, Bawa, 40, was a trained EFCC investigator with vast experience in the investigation and prosecution of advance fee fraud cases, official corruption, bank fraud, money laundering, and other economic crimes.
He said Bawa, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and master’s in International Affairs and Diplomacy, had undergone several specialised trainings in different parts of the world and was one of the pioneer EFCC Cadet officers in 2005.
Following the suspension of Magu earlier in 2019, Buhari had appointed Mohammed Umar, a director of the commission, to act in the capacity of the suspended acting chairman.
The beginning and end of Magu in EFCC
In 2016, during the first stint of Buhari as Nigerian president, Magu’s name was sent to the 8th Assembly of the Nigerian Senate led by Bukola Saraki as the Senate president.
However, the State Security Service (SSS) wrote the Senate that Magu was unfit to serve as the chairman of the commission.
The Nigerian Senate invited the then director-general of DSS, Lawal Daura, to appear before the Senate and state why Magu should not be appointed.
Daura was summoned after Buhari had, again, sent Magu’s name to the Senate in 2017 for confirmation.
In a letter to the Senate, the DSS said Magu was unfit to become the EFCC chairman due to several misconducts while he was in the Nigeria Police Force and with the commission.
Magu was accused of possessing documents belonging to the EFCC which were not supposed to be in his custody.
The SSS also said during a search on Magu’s residence, a fake letter from the Office of the Vice President was discovered.
Further stating reasons why he must not be confirmed as EFCC chair, the DSS said investigations revealed that Magu embarked on private trips with one Umar Muhammed who was at the time being investigated by the EFCC.
Due to this and several other reasons, the Senate refused to confirm Magu’s appointment as the substantial chairman of the commission.
However, Buhari went on to appoint Magu as the acting chairman of the EFCC, a position he held until mid-2019.
The end of his days came following a power tussle with Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation.
Malami and a special presidential probe panel known as Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets (PCARA), in a report entitled ‘Mismanagement and Lack of Transparency in Managing Recovered Assets,’ indicted Magu of diversion of the fund, mismanagement of recovered assets, among others.
Magu, who spent about 10 nights in detention while being interrogated by the probe panel in his defence, argued that the allegations were targeted at him in order to tarnish his name and the image of the commission.
He was eventually suspended from his position while Umar, a director in EFCC was appointed to act in his capacity.
The 40-year-old Bawa’s appointment is subject to the approval by the Nigerian Senate.