Magu: Presidential panel begins verification of seized assets

The Presidential panel set up to probe the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission , Ibrahim Magu, has begun a physical verification of all assets seized by the EFCC, The PUNCH has learnt.

The panel , led by a former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami , has visited Lagos , Abuja , Rivers State and a few other major offices of the commission.

A source close to the panel said the aim of the exercise was to verify claims made by Magu regarding the seizure of assets .

The source , who wished to remain anonymous , said , “Members of the panel have been visiting major zonal offices of the EFCC. We have visited Abuja , Lagos , Port Harcourt and we will visit Ibadan this week .

“We visited some of the houses which Magu claimed to have seized . However , some of them which he claimed to have been seized had no markings of ‘EFCC Keep Off !’ while in some other cases , the alleged looters were still living in them .

“Some houses are also being occupied by strange persons. Magu claims to have obtained presidential approval to allocate the properties to them . Unfortunately , he has not been able to provide the letter of authorisation he purportedly got from the President .

“A lot of vehicles that were seized were also in a bad shape . Some of these vehicles had some parts of their engines removed while for some others , tyres had been removed . We are compiling all the reports .”

When asked when the final report would be submitted to the President , Major General Muhammadu Buhari ( retd .) , he said the panel would most likely submit it next week .

“As you know , we ended sittings like two weeks ago . It is the verification that is delaying us . Once we are done with our nationwide tour , we will compile our report and send it to the President ,” he said .

Magu and over 13 other senior officials of the EFCC including its Secretary , Ola Olukoyede , were suspended in July following a report by the Attorney- General of the Federation , Abubakar Malami ( SAN ) , accusing Magu of being unable to account for the interest that accrued to over N 550 bn recovered funds.

The report of the AGF , which was based on the investigation of a separate panel he personally set up , stated that Magu allegedly purchased a house in Dubai for N 570 m , an allegation that the suspended EFCC boss has constantly denied .

Based on the allegations , Buhari named a panel of seven including Justice Ayo Salami ( North -Central ); Deputy Inspector -General of Police , Michael Ogbezi ( South- South); a representative of the Federal Ministry of Justice , Muhammad Babadoko ( North -Central ); and Hassan Abdullahi from the Department of State Services ( North -Central ) .

Others are Muhammad Shamsudeen from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation ( North -West ) , Douglas Egweme from the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit ( South- East ) , and Kazeem Atitebi ( South- West ) who serves as the Secretary .

Efforts to speak to Magu’s lawyer , Tosin Ojaomo , on Wednesday proved abortive as he did not respond to calls.

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