Magu: There’s a new sheriff in town

By: Ronald Mutum

The newly-appointed acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu’s reputation precedes him as a fearless police officer. A look at his background and work history reveals a commitment to public service and the pursuit of excellence in the dispensation of public trust.

Magu, who hails from Borno State, holds a Masters Degree in Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice (MLCJ) from the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, in addition to a graduate certificate on Corruption studies obtained from the University of Hong Kong.

In 1990, Magu left the Borno State civil service at the time a Zonal Accountant, Biu Zonal Educational Authority where he was in charge of the Accounts Department to enrol into the Nigeria Police as a Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police.

As one of the policemen seconded to the EFCC at its inception, records show that Magu has been instrumental in many investigations on financial crimes in the country. Between 1996 and 2002 before his first stint in the EFCC, he as a Superintendent of Police was acting Head, Advance Fee Fraud Section, and Special Fraud Unit (SFU) in Ikoyi Lagos. He later became Head Administrative and Finance-EFCC in Ikoyi, Lagos where he was responsible to the director of operations for the overall administrative control and supervision of the EFCC.

In 2008, Magu was Head, Joint Special Presidential Task Force on Good Governance, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in Abuja; at the same period, between 2006 and 2008 was head of the EFCC Economic Governance Section. Apart from supervising the conduct of the Task Force and giving feedback to the president and the Federal Executive Council, he also coordinated with the Director of Operations to investigate all cases involving politically exposed persons.

Magu also investigated cases involving money laundering, terrorism financing, fraud in public and private sector and attending all FAAC meetings with heads of finance ministries of all 36 states and the FCT. Subsequently he left the EFCC in 2009 until 2012 when he returned as the pioneer Deputy Director office of professional responsibility, saddled with ensuring professionalism, discipline and orderliness in EFCC operations.

A position he held before his appointment as acting Chairman of the EFCC, Magu’s responsibilities also included supervision of the conduct of all investigations involving politically exposed persons and all high profile cases. Some of them which he investigated or supervised from 2003-2015 includes: diversion of public funds by former Inspector General of Police Tafa Balogun for which he was sent to prison.

The acting EFCC boss in an inaugural speech, said: “While we will intensify on our work out there, we will also keep an eye internally. I will not tolerate indiscipline nor condone abuse of office or acts of corruption. We have to remove the speck in our eyes first, to clearly face the outside world. You have no place in the fight against corruption if you are corrupt yourself. We cannot be caught napping in our own primary calling.”

Magu also said there may be no need to rehash the facts of the enormity of the corruption pandemic and why fighting it to a standstill is a lifesaver for the country, noting that: “Indeed, corruption cannot coexist with any meaningful development.”

Magu pointed out that: “Indeed, there is no better time to ginger up the anticorruption campaign than now that we are faced with economic downturn and the attendant sharp decline in government revenues.” He said there is the need to make sure whatever is gotten for common use did not end up in private pockets, saying: “Again, to attract foreign investments that would complement the income of the Government; we need to clean up our systems in line with global best practices. We intend to pay serious attention to these important areas.” These sound like the words of a new sheriff in town, even as the proverbial residents await action.

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