Nigeria’s anti-corruption czar Ibrahim Magu suspended for financial fraud

The embattled chairman of the Economic and Financial crimes commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu has been suspended.

His suspension by the presidency on Tuesday, first reported by the BBC Hausa language, comes a day after he was arrested, interrogated and detained by the police in Abuja.

He was expected to be arraigned in court for fraud and removed from office after a night in police custody.

Mr. Magu was arrested by security agents on Monday and taken to the presidential palace and made to face a presidential panel probing allegations of financial fraud against him.

Local newspapers said allegations of insubordination and embezzlement of recovered funds were levelled against him by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, but the government has not officially commented on his arrest, interrogation and detention.

Earlier reports had suggested that Mr. Magu was arrested by the Department of State Services, but the DSS in a statement denied arresting him, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said Magu was only invited for questioning.

But a night in police detention, after hours of questioning in the presence of an EFCC counsel Rotimi Oyedepo do not seem to portrait a simple invitation for questioning narrative, especially because Magu was sent to Area 10 Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) of the police where he spent the night.

Magu was appointed to lead the fight against corruption in Nigeria in 2015 by President Muhammad Buhari after he defeated Goodluck Jonathan vowing to “kill corruption before corruption kills Nigeria.”

But Magu was rejected by the Senate twice after a report by the DSS concluded that he lacked integrity and was linked with corrupt individuals or the proceeds of corruption. Twice also, President Buhari stood by him and retained him despite those allegations.

It was, therefore, not clear why the presidency has decided to move against Magu now when allegations of corruption against him have persisted for years, or even why the government has decided to play his arrest, interrogation and detention in the public domain before removing him.

TODAY NEWS AFRICA learned that President Muhammadu Buhari was considering a replacement for Magu and the decision could come today or tomorrow

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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