Former President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, says the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, took his non-confirmation by the 8th Senate personally.
The senate, under Saraki, twice refused to confirm Magu as EFCC’s substantive boss in 2016, citing an indicting report against the latter by the Department of State Services (DSS).
In a lenghty statement he personally signed on Thursday, he described the last five years as “challenging” for he and his family as he had “endured and defeated one false allegation and malicious litigation after another.”
He was also reacting to a judgment of the Federal High Court, Lagos, which refused to grant a forfeiture order on his Ilorin residence.
According to the former governor of Kwara State, the moves were to persecute, intimidate, harass, and damage his name with charges of corruption.
While clarifying that the senate under him never executed any personal agenda against Magu, he stated that the anti-graft agency should not reduce the fight against corruption to a forum-shopping means to execute “personal vendetta or prosecute parochial agenda.”
“It is obvious that the EFCC leadership under its erstwhile acting chair, Mr. Ibrahim Mustapha Magu decided to take the issue of his non-confirmation by the 8th Senate which I led, personally,” Saraki said.
“However, I know that the Senate under my leadership only followed the due and normal procedure during the confirmation process and we never executed any personal agenda against Magu.
“The records of the Senate during the period is there for the perusal of all Nigerians interested in the truth.
“I hope that with the outcome of today’s [Thursday] case, the EFCC should learn that a serious issue like the fight against corruption should not be reduced to a forum-shopping means to execute personal vendetta or prosecute parochial agenda.
“Fighting corruption and combating economic crime requires stakeholders to eschew coercion while employing upright diligence, due process, fairness, equity and broad mindedness in dealing with all cases and persons.
“The deployment of a state institution to fight personal and partisan battle, particularly with the use of the mass and social media as championed by the EFCC was aimed at inflicting damages to my name, reputation and elective public service record, through a targeted misinformation and disinformation campaign of calumny, also directed at intimidating the judiciary.
“It was directed at giving the wrong impression about me. As I record yet another vindication by the competent court of law, God’s willing, my focus will now shift to more serious issues.”
The former senate president stated that he holds no grudge against any individual for their roles in his trials.
He also expressed his support for the fight against corruption, outlining his previous actions to ensure that the war is successful.
“At this point, let me strongly express my support for the anti-corruption war and the institutions created to prosecute this war. My antecedents show that I have always sponsored and backed initiatives in this direction,” Saraki said.
“I was part of the team that initiated the enactment of the Fiscal Responsibility Act and Public Procurement Act under the Obasanjo administration.
“As Governor of Kwara State, my government was the first state to introduce the Price Intelligence Unit and was also the first state to submit our financial process for rating by Fitch, the global rating agency.
“As a member of the 7th Senate, I sponsored the motion which exposed the monumental fraud in the fuel subsidy payment while the 8th Senate under my leadership passed five different bills aimed at strengthening the fight against corruption, particularly the law that created the National Financial Intelligence Agency (NFIA).”
The former senate president added that it is his expectation that the EFCC will now “leave me alone to live my life, and enjoy my unfettered rights to freedom of thought, expression, association, occupation and dignity, as a private citizen and focus on serious issues of national development.”