Chairman of Nigerian anti-corruption body suspended amid graft allegations

13 Jul 20

The head of Nigeria’s official anti-corruption agency has been suspended after the body was accused of diverting funds recovered as a result of its investigations.

Ibrahim Magu was removed from his role as acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission “in order to allow for an unhindered inquiry by the Presidential Investigation Panel”, the country’s attorney general and justice minister Abubakar Malami said.

The minister told the panel the agency had been diverting recovered money into private hands.

A presidential committee report stated Magu has been accused of failing to give a proper account of 332 real-estate properties recovered by the agency in March 2018 – out of the 836 total – according to politically independent Nigerian daily newspaper Vanguard.

The report suggested wider problems at the agency, and that in some cases data had been manipulated, while in others money simply did not add up.

Foreign currency recoveries, for example, were reported by EFCC to be worth $119m, whereas the agency only lodged $97m.

The report also noted EFCC mismanagement of recovered assets that led to their value decreasing, leading to million of public naira being lost.

Nigerian media reported that Magu has denied the allegations, and that he will be given the opportunity to respond.

President Muhammadu Buhari made fighting corruption a central campaign promise in both 2015 and 2019.

Nigeria was ranked among the 35 most corrupt countries surveyed by global campaign group Transparency International in its most recent Corruption Perceptions Index released in January.

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