Sacked Director General (DG) of the Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura, was a corrupt, power drunk secret service boss who stayed late at work to receive Ghana-Must-Go bags stashed full with bribe money from members of the public, according to Abdulwahab Abdulrahman, a retired senior DSS official who served as Daura’s assistant until 2016.

Abdulrahman made the allegations in an exclusive chat with Premium Times.

Daura was sacked as DG of the DSS by acting President Yemi Osinbajo after operatives of the spy agency barricaded the entrance to the national assembly on Tuesday, August 7, 2018 and stopped lawmakers from gaining access to the complex.

“Daura was receiving money from everyone, including the president’s enemies”, Abdulrahman told Premium Times. “I noticed immediately we started work that for Lawal Daura it is simply about the money.”

Abdulrahman and Daura were members of the Buhari campaign security committee in the run up to the 2015 general elections. The committee was led by the current Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau.

“In one of the earlier meetings, he suggested that we should request for one billion to start work. Where will Buhari see one billion to give us?” Abdulrahman said of their 2015 campaign strategy days.

How Abdulrahman and Daura began working together

He added that in the course of their pre-election work and as part of the transition team after Buhari won the election, the sacked Daura “kept producing fake reports about (Ita) Ekpenyong (his predecessor), but we never knew what he was targeting,” until late.

Abdulrahman said Daura was introduced to the president by the late Senator Mustapha Bukar.

He also said Daura was never a favourite of Buhari because of his “antecedents”, but was somehow imposed on the president by Mamman Daura, the influential cousin of the president.

“When he was appointed, he kept putting pressure on me and Maikano, the current AO (Admin Officer) at the presidential villa to come and work with him as SA. He assured me that what I will get under him, I cannot get even as a Minister,” Abdulrahman told Premium Times.

Ghana-must-go bags of bribe money

Abdulrahman disclosed how Daura and he would stay late at work till around 2am.  “What are we doing? Mostly receiving Ghana must go filled with cash brought by enemies of government to him”.

Abdulrahman told Premium Times that at some point, agents working for Daura stopped going to the Bureau de change for cash transactions on his behalf. Rather, “they invite the secretary of the Bureau de Change at that Sheraton (Hotel) gate to come to the office late at night with their counting machines, counting dollars”, he disclosed.

The prophecy that came to pass

Before Abdulrahman left the secret service in anger and frustration, he prophesied that Daura would leave the agency in disgrace.

“When I had too much, I decided to leave and I swore to the directors who wanted me to stay because of their personal interest, that Daura will leave office in handcuffs because of what I saw.

“I was preaching to him that he needs to help Mr President because you know, you don’t deserve this office and he appointed you, because of that he stopped my pension for two years until I threatened to go to court,” he said.

Daura was arrested immediately after his sack.

A history of theft

Abdulrahman told Premium Times that Daura was sacked from the DSS before his reappointment by Buhari, after he was caught siphoning diesel from the DSS Academy in Kaduna.

“Before then, he was almost sacked when he was State Director in Lagos. Tinubu, who was governor donated 20 vehicles to aid the work of the service in the state; Fashola, who is Minister now, was the Chief of Staff at the time, Lawal Daura took all the vehicles to Kano and sold them off,” Abdulrahman claimed.

He also said Daura had to be secretly taken away in Edo State because of how he was misusing staff stipends.

“Just like today, how they had to use the back door to ferry him away, don’t you wonder why he was not taken back to the service facility? He wouldn’t have survived it. I have been receiving calls all day from some of our top directors and staff, everyone is in a joyous mood today.

“In fact a director told me that all his life, he never drank beer, but today, he will drink to celebrate how this service is finally saved from destruction,” he said.

'Daura had no respect for Osinbajo'

Before his sack, Daura and EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu, endured a frosty relationship. Daura’s recommendation letters were what the Bukola Saraki led senate relied on to deny Magu confirmation as substantive EFCC boss.

The presidency and acting President Osinbajo defied the senate’s rejection of Magu and vowed to keep the embattled anti-graft czar on as acting EFCC chairman in perpetuity.

Abdulrahman told Premium Times that Daura often disrespected and undermined acting President Osinbajo during meetings.

Once, Abdulrahman revealed, Daura and Magu engaged themselves in a shouting match over the former’s lack of respect for the office and person of Osinbajo.

“Whenever the Vice President calls for a meeting for 2 o’clock, Daura will come by 3 and will not apologise. There was a time they had serious shouting match with Magu over the disrespect shown to the VP and the VP had to ask Magu to keep quiet,” Abdulrahman said.

Asked what the real issue was between Mr Magu and the DG DSS, Mr Abdulrahman said Daura wanted Magu to share information on high profile cases with him

“Magu is a smart officer and he knew Daura wanted to use such information to extract money from people. He told Daura to his face that I can’t report to you, I only report to the president who appointed me,” he said.

Abdulrahman also said Daura had no regard for National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, whom he should be reporting to.

Daura is still in custody of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) following his sack and subsequent arrest, and wasn’t available for a reaction when this story was filed.

Pulse also tried to reach Magu, who was mentioned in this story, to corroborate some of the accounts shared by Abdulrahman, but calls sent to Magu’s mobile returned unanswered.