The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has referred as baseless allegation against its acting Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu, by a U.S. senator, Charles Grassley, over 300 million dollars ‘Abacha loot’.
The 86-year-old U.S.Republican Senator had on April 1, addressed a letter to the Chief Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section of the U.S.Department of Justice, Deborah Connor.
He accused Magu of wrongly and maliciously detaining individuals, who spoke against the government.
Spokesperson for the EFCC, Mr Tony Orilade, in a statement on Friday, however, decried the allegation, affirming that the Commission spearheaded transparent management of looted funds.
Orilade said that the EFCC was at the forefront of the transparent management of recovered funds and would not be dragged into any controversy over an allegation that has no fact or any iota of proof.
“The allegation clearly has no bearing with the operations of the EFCC nor address the painstaking efforts of Magu in tackling the menace of corruption, without fear or favour
““The EFCC is involved in the processes of repatriation of the looted $300million by the former Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha.
“The Commission is aware of the tripartite agreement involving Nigeria with the United States and Island of Jersey.
“As an anti-graft agency, the Commission has credible records of managing recovered funds and assets.
“It is rather unfortunate that the ranking US Senator, in a desperate bid to frustrate the repatriation of the funds, embraced the well-worn antics of some unscrupulous elements in the country.
“Those who had never succeeded in blackmailing the anti-corruption crusade of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“”Even the harshest detractors of Magu know and always acknowledge his firm and bold handling of the anti-corruption fight, which continues to earn him accolades within and outside Nigeria, ” he said.
Orilade pointed out that the U.S.Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recently gave an Award of Excellence to Magu for his unique role in a joint field operation codenamed, ‘Operation Rewired’.
He stated that the operation yielded great results, internationally; in tackling the menace of cyber-crime.
“Besides, only recently, former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke (SAN), and a member of the opposition, poured encomiums on Magu on the visible achievements of the EFCC under his watch.
“Orilade quoted Adoke as saying: “President Muhammadu Buhari is highly celebrated for fighting corruption and the poster boy of this celebrated achievement is clearly Magu.”
Orilade said that Grassley evidently lacked any sound basis for linking the EFCC and Magu with any oppressive or separatist agenda against government opposition.
He noted that records of convictions of the Commission were in public domain as well as cases before the courts, which can be subjected to un-biased analysis and scrutiny.
“We wish to reiterate that the EFCC under Magu is too focused on the anti-graft agenda of the government to be distracted by such empty claims of the lawmaker.
“Grassley and his sponsors are clearly on quicksand on this issue.
“The Commission remains focused on its mandate against economic and financial crimes and will not be deterred by spurious allegations from individuals with hidden agenda,” Orilade said.