The Presidency says those who see the ongoing Ibrahim Magu’s investigation as an indication that the fight against corruption is failing have missed the boat, saying, however, that the days of corrupt officials are numbered.
Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, stated this in a statement in Abuja on Saturday while reacting to various media reports on Magu’s investigation.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Magu, the suspended acting chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is currently being interrogated by a presidential probe panel headed by retired Justice Ayo Salami over allegations of mismanagement and lack of transparency in managing recovered assets by commission.
Shehu said: “Those who see Mr Magu’s investigation as a signal that the fight against corruption is failing have, unfortunately, missed the boat.
“There is no better indication that the fight is real and active than the will to investigate allegations in an open and transparent manner against those who have been charged to be custodians of this very system.
“Under this President and Government, this is our mantra and guiding principle.
“There are no sacred cows, and for those who think they have a halo over their heads, their days are also numbered.
“Mr Magu was not immune – and regardless of the obvious embarrassment that potential acts of wrongdoing by him, given the office he held, may appear for the government.
“No other administration in the history of Nigeria would have moved to bring into the light and public domain such an allegation.’’
According to Shehu, Magu is being availed the opportunity to defend himself and answer the allegations against him.
He said: “This is how it should be, as is the fact that under the laws of Nigeria every citizen is presumed and remains innocent until proven guilty.
“We must realize that the fight against corruption is not a static event, but a dynamic and ever evolving process, in which the EFCC is just one actor; and as we continue to work towards improving our democratic process so shall every institution of ours also embark on that journey of evolution.
“What is however important is that there must be accountability and transparency and our people must realize that they would be held to account.
“This is the building block in the fight against corruption, the establishment of the concept of accountability and the recognition of the Rule of Law.”
Shehu further explained that Magu was being investigated as a result of series of documented allegations made against him.
He added that detailed investigations were being carried out following a preliminary review of the allegations leveled against Magu and several other members of his staff of the commission.
“Hence, an investigative panel was constituted in compliance with the extant laws governing the convening of such a body.
“As is the proper procedure, when allegations are made against the Chief Executive of an institution, and in this case an institution that ought to be seen as beyond reproach, the Chief Executive has to step down from his post and allow for a transparent and unhindered investigation,’’ he said.
According to him, the EFCC does not revolve around the personality of an individual, and as such cannot be seen through the prism of any individual.
“Therefore, the suspension of Mr Ibrahim Magu allows the institution to continue carrying out its mandate without the cloud of investigation hanging over its head.
“The EFCC has many good, hardworking men and women who are committed to its ideal and ensuring that the wealth of our country isn’t plundered and wherein there is an act of misappropriation such person(s) are brought to justice,’’ he said.