While many Nigerians had looked forward to a better deal over anti-corruption under President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government based on its perceived and probably obvious fight against corruption, the country has been suspended by an intentional anti-corruption organisation.
The nation was said to have been suspended from Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units at its recent meeting in China.
By this suspension, they will be pulling the plug on Nigeria. The suspension is until January next year for Nigeria to put things right otherwise we face final expulsion after January.
The EGMONT Group of Financial Intelligence Units comprises about 152 countries of the world. They cooperate and engage in financial intelligence sharing among members.
This intelligence gathering and sharing is crucial to the universal and local war against corruption, money laundering and terrorism financing by various member countries.
For example, if Nigeria needs financial report on anyone, we can approach the EGMONT group for assistance and all the bank accounts of the suspect wherever they are located in the world!
The Nigeria’s Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) enjoys those and other benefits by virtue of our membership of EGMONT Group.
The NFIU therefore supplies all the firepower and financial intelligence report to the nation’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to fight corruption. Without the NFIU, the EFCC is absolutely nothing.
However, being a member of EGMONT comes with certain rules and standards which must be complied with by each member.
Among them is to domicile the NFIU within any government Agency but you must maintain its operational autonomy from undue interference or excessive control by such Agency, individual, or politicians.
Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, sources said, continously interfered and violated all the applicable standards of ensuring rule of law and integrity of the NFIU by transferring/posting away the core & experienced, highly trained workers of NFIU while bringing untrained police officers to the Unit amongst other offences.
We gathered that repeated warnings from EGMONT Group were not heeded until that body got fed up and finally suspended Nigeria on Wednesday July 5
It was discovered that just last month, at its pre-convention preparations, EGMONT Group condemned Nigeria for what they referred to as “cock and shoot” style of fighting corruption.
A source said: “all our efforts to join the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) where we already secured an observer status is down the drain unless we get it right before January 2018. This is a devastating blow really.”
Unconfirmed sources informed First Weekly that the A.G. of Nigeria, Malami was not immediately informed (formally or informally) about the development in a desperate bid to keep him in the dark by Magu and his associates.
“The NFIU is domiciled within the EFCC. That’s why the leadership of the agency is now being accused of corruptly and endlessly interfering in the operation of the Unit contrary to, and in manifest violation of internationally acceptable standards,” said a reliable source.
First weekly has authoritatively learnt that at a meeting held in the villa on the night of Thursday July 13 among the Vice President, House Speaker, Dogara, Ibrahim Magu and limited other key officers of the government.
The vice president was said to have strongly admonished Ibrahim Magu, the EFCC chairman over alleged inefficiency and high handedness in the operation of the Commission – part of which led to the recent suspension of Nigeria from the Egmont Group of financial intelligent units ( a world body that……).
The meeting, which was originally scheduled for a different purpose, later turned out to be an assessment or review of Magu’s stewardship as EFCC chairman so far.
For example, it was allegedly discovered that many well-trained and highly experienced staff of EFCC have resigned in protest under Magu than any other time in the history of the Commission.
Magu has also reportedly recorded more staff/trainees deaths in his tenure than the time of all other past chairmen combined.
Then comes the issue of transferring staff with no regards to experience, acquired skills, family ties etc.
He was also alleged to have deprived workers of basic rights under the rules of the commission and Nigerian laws with no reasonable justification etc.
All these revelations reportedly made the vice president to express great shock and issued stern warning to the acting EFCC Chairman.
Osinbajo was said to have pointed out that he had discovered that Magu was spending the commission’s money as personal property.
Sources revealed that there were low staff morale and that the acting Chairman has refused to approve relevant skill acquisition trainings for staff despite availability of fund for that purpose in the budget.
“He has also consistently and in a confrontational manner, been overriding major decisions of the Commission’s Secretary, who under the law, is the administrative head of EFCC and himself, an appointed of the Nigerian President, who was further confirmed by the Senate,” said a reliable source.
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