DSS report not behind Magu’s rejection, Senators reveal
By Christiana Ekpa
Senator Mustaph Bukar ( Katsina North) has noted that the prevention of Ibrahim Magu to become the substantive Chairman of Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) was not due to DSS report, as another Senator (name withheld) blamed senators whose names appeared on the Magu’s High Profile cases of corruption.
Bukar also disclosed that the decision of the Senate in rejecting the Acting Chairman Of the EFCC will affect President Muhammad Buhari’s fight against corruption in the country.
Peoples Daily uncovered that Magu’s Curriculum Vitae presented to all the senators (which our reporter obtained a copy) contained names of current senators in the highlight of High Profile Cases of Diversion of public Funds and Money Laundering investigated by the rejected Acting Chairman of the EFCC.
Some of the senators according, to Magu’s CV, stole public funds while serving as governors in their different States.
The Senator who insisted that Magu did not impress anybody including those Senators who would have been sympathetic to his cause during the confirmation hearing in the Senate, urged President Buhari to look for a replacement and avoid actions that may result in violation of the laws of the land.
He said the DSS report was of no material effect to the decision of the Senate at this level because “Mr. President in his letter to the Senate, when forwarding his name for the second time, did say the report had been investigated and he was not found wanting.”
He confirmed his ‘yes’ vote alongside others, but expressed that since the debate was transparently a game of numbers, the ‘nay’ votes have their way in putting the issue to rest.
“Some of us were not happy. We voted for his confirmation, but you know democracy is a game of numbers, so those against his confirmation were more than us,” he said.
Mustapha regretted that if there was an issue hampering his confirmation, it would have been discussed internally, particularly as the majority party, with the Senate President on their side, but such did not happen.
“If there is any issue, I thought it would have been discussed internally especially that we have government and we have the majority in the Senate.”
“We also have the Senate President from the same party. The party should have intervened to look at the issue before we did what we did on the floor,” he emphasized.
Senator Bukar told newsmen at National Assembly Complex that what played out on the floor of the senate was democracy in action, adding that it was unfortunate the situation manifested the other way after President Muhammadu Buhari re-send his name.
Another senator who pleaded anonymity told Peoples Daily that the decision of the Senate was a way of disrespecting President Buhari who just returned to the Country.
According to him, “it’s a mapped-out plan; and the leadership of the Senate should be blamed for not considering the interest of the party and the President.”
“As you saw for yourself, the question was put across only once and that is unfair. We were all here when the Senate rejected the Customs CG letter because a junior officer wrote it; but why are we celebrating a letter from one F O Adams who we did not investigate? “ he asked.
“This is the hand work of the highlight of the high profile cases investigated and supervised by Magu from 2003 – 2015. Those affected were the one sitting in Chamber that day; and you don’t expect them to confirm him.”
This is just as the Chairman, Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Dino Melaye, said President Muhammadu Buhari cannot validly re-nominate Magu as candidate for the third time.
Melaye, who disclosed this while commenting on the debate in the media about whether Magu can continue to act as EFCC boss in spite of his failure to be confirmed by the Senate or if the President can re-nominate him, said there is a provision of the Senate rules which would not allow members to consider Magu for the same position again.
Citing Order 131 of the Senate Rules, Melaye said after the rejection of Magu’s nomination, his candidacy is considered lapsed, and therefore advised the President to consider a fresh nominee who is qualified in terms of experience, integrity, knowledge and temperament to lead the anti-graft agency.
The Order 131 of the Senate Rules states that: “Nominations neither confirmed nor rejected during the session or within 21 working days in the case of Ministerial nominees shall be returned by the clerk to the National Assembly to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; and shall not again be made to the Senate by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
“Those suggesting to the President that after failing to scale the confirmation process twice, the President should leave Magu to continue as acting chairman, are only recommending violation of the law, disrespect for due process and perpetration of illegality. All these will only undermine democracy and constitutionalism in our country,” Melaye said.
The Senate spokesman, Senator Abdullahi Sabi, who addressed newsmen gave other reasons, saying, “the Senators were not please with his responses and answers to question during the debate. It is not convenient for the Senate to do this; but he did not do justice to all of his questions.”
Sabi also stressed that the Senate must respect government institution like the DSS, adding that the Senate cannot rubbish the reports of the DSS.