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Sagay: FG’s Probe May Have Affected Magu Psychologically

The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof Itse Sagay, has bemoaned how the former acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, was treated.

He said what Magu went through was tantamount to persecution, and that his dramatic removal from office and the way his tenure was probed left him devastated.

The don, in an interview with our correspondent on Wednesday, however, warned that such actions could discourage people from giving their best while in service.

Magu, whose confirmation was declined twice by the Bukola Saraki-led Senate over damning reports against him by the Department of State Services, was appointed on November 9, 2015 and suspended by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), in July 2020.

The President then set up a presidential panel headed by a former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, to probe the various allegations levelled against the former EFCC boss by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.

The AGF had in a memo to the President in June 2020 recommended Magu’s sacking over acts of misconduct, including alleged diversion of recovered loot.

Magu’s tenure eventually ended when the President nominated Abdulrasheed Bawa for confirmation by the Senate in February 2021, even though the Salami panel submitted its report to the President since November 20, 2020.

Speaking on Magu’s removal and the continued silence from the Presidency over his fate in the police, Sagay, who had expressed reservations over how Magu was treated, said, “That event has made him withdraw into his shell. That’s the way I see it. I think he’s probably psychologically damaged as a result.

“He’s very down in spirit based on what happened to him, and like I said, if you treat people who are serving well in that manner, it will discourage people from coming out and putting in their best. We need to support people when they serve us.

“I wasn’t disposed to how he was treated because they didn’t follow any proper procedure for prosecuting such matters; it was like persecution the way the whole thing went on.

“Without mentioning names, I’m so disappointed about some really respected people who participated in that process. No statement has been made by the government as to the outcome and the next line of action. And in fact, the man is still in the police force, what conclusion do we draw from that? Your guess is as good as mine.”

Sagay also revealed that the eighth Senate, led by Saraki, refused to confirm his nomination because many highly placed individuals had replacements for Magu.

He said, “A lot of people wanted that slot for themselves. When I went to the National Assembly and I spoke to the senior people there and I said this man (Magu) has done the job very well and it was time his nomination was confirmed, there was a little coldness in their response.

“When I got back to the hotel, someone came to me and asked why I said that. I said I believed the man had been very good, the results he had produced since his appointment had been tremendous. The person then told me all the people I was talking to had their candidates for the position, so they were not happy with me.”

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