The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, appears to be heading to fresh crisis following the ongoing probe of the now suspended Acting Chairman of the Commission, Ibrahim Magu, over multiple allegations of corruption, as some aggrieved operatives have rejected the continued use of a police officer as chairman and demanded a change.
Sources told BusinessDay on Monday that the police have hijacked the leadership of the Commission and trying to colonize it for past 17 years.
“The commission should be open to all other security and law enforcement agencies and even credible civilians to head the commission in a democratic setting. There is the DSS, the NIS and even senior directors who are civilians can lead the Institution,” the sources added.
Although the aggrieved operatives noted that there are good police officers in the Commission, they called on the Federal Government to discontinue the use of only police officers as head of the commission.
The sources at the EFCC headquarters claimed that since its establishment, the police have been heading the outfit, thereby making the commission to look like a police outfit. They added that the travails of Magu over multiple layers of alleged corruption, have affected the police and further exposed their alleged poor public image in the country.
The law establishing the EFCC recommends that the commission shall consist of a “Chairman who shall be the Chief Executive and Accounting Officer of the commission. He shall be a retired or serving member of any government security or law enforcement agency not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police or its equivalent.”
The aggrieved personnel also lamented that the police officers that were brought to the commission on secondment, have perfected the act of not returning to their places of origin, alleging that most of them had remained in the commission up to 17 years on such secondment.
The detained Acting Chairman, Magu was one of such police personnel brought to the commission on secondment by the pioneer Chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu but has remained and never returned to his original office, they alleged.
The aggrieved operatives threatened to fight the status quo and effect a change to enable other security and law enforcement officers to head the commission.
” It was Ribadu, an Assistant Commissioner that brought police people on secondment to help build the Institution for two years, renewable for another two years. After the two years, they police officers are supposed to go back to their original place. But they have remained. Some of them have even remained for up to 17 years in violation of the law,” the sources said.
They accused Magu of trying to turn the EFCC into a police establishment even when the commission is an independent body and not even a police department.
Magu was arrested on Monday, July 6 by men of the Department of Security Services(DSS) over allegations of fraud leveled against him by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami. He is being investigated by a Presidential panel led by retired Justice Ayo Salami.