How Magu bungled high-profile corruption cases while chasing 'Yahoo boys'

A panel report has revealed how the former EFCC boss killed high-profile corruption cases while chasing after Internet fraudsters popularly known as 'Yahoo Boys.'

Former acting-Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu. [Vanguards]

This was contained in a presidential panel report obtained and published by The Cable on Wednesday, August 17, 2022.

How it happened: As reported by the paper, Magu was said to have deployed more resources into chasing after internet fraudsters, otherwise known as "Yahoo Boys", while ignoring several requests by investigating officers of the agency to commence legal proceeding against high-profile suspects.

EFCC convictions: The final report submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2020, showed that the EFCC under Magu secured 2,446 convictions from 2015 to 2020, out of which 2,115 had to do with Yahoo boys and 85 high-profile cases.

It was said that investigating officers of the commission, including the now EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa; Shehu Ala; and Sambo Mayana, submitted executive requests to Magu seeking permission to proceed on legal steps against prominent suspects, but the former EFCC boss would hold approval until court orders expire.

Magu's probe: Recall that the panel, headed by a Former President of the Court of Appeal, Ayo Salami, was set up to probe the agency's activities from May 2015 to May 2020 when Magu was in charge.

The Cable added that the report has now been submitted to the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), while a panel will soon be set up to produce the white paper.

However, Magu's legal counsel, Wahab Shittu, has declined the request to comment on the panel report, noting that he wouldn't speak on a document he has not seen.

The report reads in part: "The commission observed that out of the 2446 convictions secured by the EFCC from 2015-2020, only 85 were for high-profile and money laundering cases, that is 3.4% of the total convictions. Also, 2115 representing over 86% of the total convictions (2446) during the period were for suspects popularly referred to as “Yahoo-Yahoo boys” internet fraudsters, charged for obtaining under false pretence/cheating and related offences.”

The suspended acting chairman, Ibrahim Magu, directed Abdulrasheed Bawa, the investigating officer, to halt the investigations into a case of abuse of office, misappropriation of public funds and money laundering against Senator Ike Ekweremadu. The investigation which commenced in September 2017 traced monies and properties worth N2.4 billion suspected to be proceeds of crime to Senator Ike Ekweremadu.

“The investigation of Starter Point Integrated Services Limited by EFCC over a failed contract involving the sum of $200 million to secure onshore pipelines traversing the country was stalled by the suspended acting chairman of EFCC.

"That despite the tracing of $91 million to the bank accounts of Starter Point, and $40 million traced to a Switzerland-based company, OWANROAD Plc. There was no evidence of contract execution and no money was recovered before the investigation was stalled on the orders of the suspended acting chairman of EFCC.

“The suspended acting chairman, Ibrahim Magu, issued a general directive to ACP Isyaku Sharu and team of officers investigating cases relating to the arms procurement contract fraud to stand down investigations on all dollar-based contracts.

“In a bid to frustrate the investigations of some politically-exposed persons, the suspended acting chairman split the Economic Governance Unit into two units; Economic Governance ‘A’ and Economic Governance ‘B’, and instructed the head of Economic Governance ‘B’ against investigating high-profile cases which led to the abandonment involving the likes of Former governors Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano state, Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun state, Donald Duke of Cross Rivers state and Ikedi Ohakim of Imo state; as well as the incumbent governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri. Others are Anyim Pius Anyim, Dr Doyin Okupe, Femi Gbajabiamila, among others.”

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