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'We'll re-present Magu's name to senate for confirmation', VP tells Pulse

The executive will call the bluff of the legislature and keep Magu in acting capacity as EFCC Chairman, VP Osinbajo told Pulse.

President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo on Monday, March 13, 2017.

Twice the presidency has sent Magu to the senate for confirmation as substantive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), twice Magu has been rejected by angry lawmakers.

The lawmakers have often cited a damning report from the Department of State Security (DSS) as reasonfor turning down the request from the Presidency.

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The DSS report accuses the acting Chairman of the EFCC of living well above his means, dining with corrupt persons, flying first class and living in a N40M mansion.

During an interactive session with select journalists at the VP's Aguda House at the presidential villa on Tuesday, April 11, 2017, Osinbajo said the presidency will call the bluff of the lawmakers if push came to shove.

The non-confirmation of the anti-graft czar has set the executive arm of government on a war path with the legislature.

Pulse was part of a team of select journalists inside the villa, Tuesday night, for a chat with the nation's number two citizen.

"I am fully in support of Magu as EFCC Chairman and so is the President. If our candidate is rejected, the law says we can re-present him", Osinbajo said.

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He added that;  "Even a pocket book lawyer knows that the constitution overrides the EFCC Act. The EFCC Act says the presidency has to send the name of the EFCC nominee to the senate for confirmation. The constitution states otherwise.

"There was no need, in the first place, to have sent Magu to the senate for confirmation", Osinbajo declared, hinting that the executive will rely on the prerogative powers of the President in matters like this, to keep Magu in his seat in perpetuity.

The Vice President also pushed back at criticisms from certain quarters that the inter-agency rift between the DSS and EFCC is clearest indication of a dysfunctional presidency.

Both institutions operate from within the presidency.

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He said if anything, it shows that the presidency is allowing the institutions a free rein to run their affairs the way they deem fit.

Osinbajo also said the FBI recently disagreed with US President Donald Trump on Russia interfering with US elections; and no one has accused the US Presidency of being in disarray.

Osinbajo also denied allegations from certain quarters suggesting that the executive is disobeying court orders and flouting rulings with reckless abandon.

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At the session, journalists cited the cases of Shiite spiritual leader Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.

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Both men remain in jail in the face of favourable bail application rulings.

"I strongly believe that we must respect the law. With respect to the cases you've cited, we appealed those rulings and we'll keep appealing those rulings", Osinbajo said.

The Vice President also denied that the executive had disobeyed a court order demanding that the bank account of the former first lady, Patience Jonathan, be defrozen.

The EFCC had put a lid on the account on the allegation that the $5.9M in the ex first lady's Skye Bank account, were proceeds of corruption.

Five days after a federal high court in Lagos ruled that the account be defrozen, Mrs. Jonathan still has no access to her stash of cash.

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Osinbajo said when court orders of that nature are reeled out, it is not the business of the prosecution to carry them out, but that of the institution; which is the bank in this case.

He said the question of why the account hasn't been defrozen should be directed to Skye Bank and not the presidency.

Osinbajo also made light of Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State, who weighed in on the issue, accusing the Buhari presidency of disobeying court orders.

"Fayose is the best example of disobeying court orders", Osinbajo said between fits of laughter, referring to the instance where the Ekiti State Governor showed up at a bank with a Ghana-must-Go bag to withdraw his money, even though a court had placed a lid on his account.

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