The State Security Service (SSS) sent two different and contradictory security reports to the Nigerian Senate on the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), PREMIUM TIMES can authoritatively report today.
While both reports stated that Mr. Magu had some “integrity issues”, they differed on the actions they suggest the upper chamber take on the confirmation of the EFCC boss.
One of the reports suggested that clearing the anti-corruption fighter would spell danger for the administration’s anti-graft war.
The other described Mr. Magu as having performed excellently so far, and should therefore be favourably considered for the post of substantive chair of the EFCC.
Three senators told PREMIUM TIMES in separate interviews that the two reports were dated October 3, 2016, with one addressed to the acting clerk of the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori, and the other to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Ita Enang.
The two reports were also signed by the same official, Folashade Bello, on behalf of the Director General of the SSS, Lawal Daura.
The two documents were sent to the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki.
The senators, who requested not to be named so they are not accused of divulging proceedings at a closed session, said both letters were read to lawmakers during the executive session held to decide the fate of Mr. Magu last Thursday.
“While the report addressed to Ita Enang was dated August 25, 2016, the one to the acting clerk was dated September 21, 2016. But both were signed by the same Folashade Bello on behalf of Daura.”
Another Senator disclosed that in the letter written to Mr. Enang, the SSS stated that “although they found some adverse things in relation to Magu, he should be cleared given his excellent performance. They said he should be given the chance to run the commission.”
However, the senator said, the same SSS in the report addressed to the acting clerk about a month later asked the Senate not to confirm Mr. Magu.
“That other report concluded by saying Magu is integrity-challenged and will constitute a liability to the anti-corruption stand of the Buhari administration,” he said. “We can’t understand why the SSS cannot get its act together to issue a single report and make the same recommendation.”
A third senator told PREMIUM TIMES the Senate decided not to confirm Mr. Magu because of the two contradictory reports.
“It is our position that given the two confusing reports, it is only the president that can decide whether he still wants the man to run the EFCC or not. The ball is in his court,” he said.
The spokesperson for the Senate, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, had told journalists on Thursday that the upper chamber decided against confirming Mr. Magu based on adverse security report from the SSS and that the Senate would write to the president intimating him of the decision.
Contacted on Monday for comments on the two contradictory reports the Senate received, Mr. Abdullahi said he would not join issue with anyone on the decision taken on the Magu affair.
“We have a moral, legal and constitutional duties to vet nominees, and that is what we did,” Mr. Abdullahi said. “Every necessary administrative actions were taken.
“What usually happen in every confirmation hearing was what took place. Whoever is not satisfied should explore other avenues to make his or her case. As far as we are concerned, we have done our job.”
In the reports, the SSS, among other allegations, accused Mr. Magu of benefitting from proceeds of fraud from an individual it (SSS) is prosecuting.
The agency alleged that the suspect, Umar Mohammed, who was a member of the presidential panel on arms procurement, paid the rent and furnished Mr. Magu’s official residence in the Maitama district of Abuja.
It also claimed that Mr. Magu used Mr. Mohammed’s private jets for trips outside Abuja.
The presidency said on Sunday that President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to investigate allegations of corruption against Mr. Magu and other officials of his administration accused of corruption.