By Abimbola Ogunnaike with agency report
A report by the Presidential Probe Panel has revealed how Ibrahim Magu, the suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), allegedly used a clergyman to launder funds abroad.
Magu is currently being interrogated by the panel headed by retired Justice Ayo Salami over allegations of lack of transparency in managing recovered assets and mismanagement of EFCC.
A copy of the report made available to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, on Saturday in Abuja ,disclosed that the founder of the Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministry, Abuja, Dr Emmanuel Omalewas was used by Magu to launder funds.
Omale’s name was uncovered through an investigative report on EFCC’s activities by the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and mentioned in the final report of the Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets (PCARA).
According to the report, unknown Pastor is alleged to have bought a landed property on behalf of Magu worth N573 million in Dubai, United Arab Emirate.
“Another individual who is helping in laundering funds for the Acting Chairman and who has been referred to in several petitions is one Pastor Emmanuel Omale of the Hand of God Prophetic Ministry.
“He’s reported to have travelled to Dubai with Mr Magu, and his name was used in purchasing a property in Dubai for Mr Magu.
“As an unknown pastor, the NFIU’s report showed the huge movement of funds ranging from N573,228,040.41,” the report said.
However, the report added that efforts had been intensified to reveal the real identity of the Pastor and to arraign him for prosecution if found quilty.
Also Magu, may be facing fresh charges of alleged re-looting of funds recovered by the commission as well as bribery.
He has to defend himself against allegations of mismanagement and lack of transparency in managing recovered assets by the EFCC
A final report of the Presidential Investigation Committee on the EFCC Federal Government Recovered Assets and Finances from May 2015 to May 2020, obtained by NAN had seriously indicted and implicated Magu on various allegations leveled against him.
The new facts have emerged on how interest rates accruing from N550 billion recovered by the EFCC in the period under review were allegedly re-looted.
Magu is now expected to disclose the whereabouts of the missing interest funds running into millions of naira.
NAN also observed that the Final Report of Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets (PCARA) that covered the period of May 29, 2015, to Nov. 22, 2018, had also confirmed the concerns of the public about contradictory recovery figures emanating from Magu.
“It is quite disturbing that conflicting figures are being circulated in the public space by EFCC as the amount of recovered funds.
“For Foreign currency recoveries, EFCC reported a total naira equivalent of N46,038,882,509.87, while the naira equivalent of the foreign currency lodgments was N37,533,764,195.66, representing a shortfall of N8,505,118,314.21.
“These inconsistencies cast serious doubt on the accuracy of figures submitted by the EFCC. It is the committee’s view that the EFCC cannot be said to have fully accounted for cash recoveries made by it.
“While EFCC reported total Naira recoveries of N504,154,184,744.04, the actual bank lodgements were N543,511,792,863.47. These discrepancies mean that EFCC’s actual lodgment exceeded its reported recoveries by N39,357,608,119.43.
“It must be pointed out that the discrepancy of more than thirty-nine billion naira does not include interest accrued in this account since it was opened.
“It, therefore, casts serious doubt on the credibility of the figures and means that a substantial amount of money has not been accurately accounted for.
“Failure to report on the interest on actual lodgements clearly establishes that the interest element of over N550 billion has been re-looted relating to the period under review.
“This is an apparent case of manipulation of data in a very brazen and unprofessional manner and this has greatly eroded the public confidence in the anti-corruption efforts,’’ the report stated in part.
NAN also reports that the PCARA revealed how the investigative reports on EFCC’s activities by the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) exposed acts of corruption and money laundering against some EFCC officials, including Magu.
“The NFIU reports established that the Acting Chairman has been using different sources to siphon money from the EFCC, and in some cases collecting bribes from suspects.
“The report has shown that a particular Bureau de Change, owned by Ahmed Ibrahim Shanono linked to the Acting Chairman based in Kaduna has more than 158 accounts and has been receiving huge sums of funds.
“The link to Magu was also established by the payment of N28 million to FALANA who is a close associate and ally of the Acting Chairman,’’ the PCARA report further revealed.
Magu is being held at the Police headquarters in Abuja and he is expected to appear before Salami probe panel is on Monday
Magu’s lawyer, Oluwatosin Ojaomo, had on Friday applied for an administrative bail for his client, who is facing corruption and other charges before the panel.