In a turnaround move four days after the Senate’s initial stance, the Senate Leader Senator Ali Ndume has said the upper chamber did not reject Ibrahim Magu as substantive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Ndume said this after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House on Monday.
Last Thursday, at a hurriedly arranged press conference just about same time the Senate was ending a one-hour executive session, the spokesperson for the senate, Abdullahi Sabi, announced that Magu’s nomination by President Muhammadu Buhari as EFCC chairman had been rejected.
“The Senate wishes to inform the public that based on available security report, the Senate cannot proceed with the confirmation of Ibrahim Magu as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
“The nomination of Ibrahim Magu is hereby rejected and has been returned to the President for further action,” said Mr. Abdullahi.
But Ndume on Monday gave a contradictory position, stressing that the Senate had not rejected Magu’s nomination.
“We did not reject Ibrahim Magu as EFCC Chairman,” said to State House reporters.
Rather, he said what the Senate did was to step down Magu’s confirmation hearing until issues raised in the report on him by the State Security Service, SSS, are resolved.
He further said the Senate would seek understanding with President Buhari on whether to proceed with the confirmation.
Mr. Abdullahi did not pick or return calls to his phone seeking his clarification on the statement by the Senate Leader. The Senate had announced a recesses on Thursday and will only formally reconvene next year.
The rejection of Magu’s nomination, as announced by the Senate’s spokesperson on Thursday, was based on a security report by the SSS.
In the report, the SSS concluded Magu would constitute a liability to Buhari’s anti-corruption campaign, and ask that he should not be confirmed.
The SSS based its conclusion on some claims including the allegation that Magu lives in a rented Abuja apartment paid for by a “questionable” businessman and retired air commodore, Umar Mohammed; and that he is living a luxurious lifestyle. The SSS also found Magu culpable of professional misconducts in previous positions he held at the EFCC.
Media checks on the security report by National Daily have turned out that Magu did not breach any known public service laws.