by Linda Ikeji
Ibrahim Magu, the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, has told the Justice Ayo Salami-led presidential panel investigating his activities as chairman of the antigraft commission, that some of the vehicles recovered from looters were auctioned to the Presidential Villa, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development as well as the Federal Inland Revenue Services and other agencies.
Magu made this known in a letter he sent to the panel titled, ‘Re: Alleged Case of Conspiracy, Enrichment, Abuse of Public Office and Other Infractions,’.
Magu’s letter was in response to an earlier report by the Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets in which he was accused of being unable to account some of the recovered vehicles and houses as well as the interest on the N550 billion recovered funds.
Magu in his response letter, said about 450 vehicles that have been recovered are yet to be sold.
His letter in part reads
“On allocation of vehicles to some government agencies through special auction with presidential approval. The beneficiary agencies are: the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management of which the valued price is to be debited from their allocation; State House, National Commission for Refugees and Displaced Persons; Federal Inland Revenue Service and National Directorate of Employment.
The commission presently has presidential approval to dispose over 450 forfeited vehicles located in Lagos and Abuja. The vehicles have been valued by the National Automotive Council Valuers and the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing. But no sale/disposal has been conducted yet”
Responding to allegations that he has diverted some of the recovered houses from looters, Magu said the recovered houses have been handed over to some government agencies like the Voice of Nigeria, North -East Development Commission, and the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate. He added that some other properties, which had been forfeited pending the outcome of court cases, were being rented by the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Nigerian Army and other agencies of government.
The embattled EFCC boss also informed the panel via his letter that the commission also temporarily handed over a property recovered in Lagos to the Lagos State Government for use as isolation centres for COVID-19 patients.
“Real properties finally forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria and allocated to some agencies for official use in line with the Presidential approval are: Voice of Nigeria, National Directorate of Employment, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, North East Development Commission and Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate.
“Properties under interim forfeiture order are rented by the following government agencies: Nigerian Army, Federal Ministry of Finance, Fiscal Responsibility Commission, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission and Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria.
“Other agencies of government that have approached the commission to rent properties under interim forfeiture order include: National Human Rights Commission and National Council for Arts and culture.” his letter read
The panel however reportedly rejected Magu’s letter which was submitted by his lawyer, Wale Shittu, insisting there was no basis for the letter and informed Shittu that Magu would be summoned if there was a need for clarification.
Magu was arrested by the police on July 6, 2020, and brought before the Justice Ayo Salami-led panel which is sitting at the Presidential Villa. He was accused of corruption and diversion of recovered funds, insubordination and others by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.