How can Buhari be really serious about fighting corruption? The head of the country’s foremost anti-graft agency is a man indicted for corruption by the DSS which is run by a towns man of the President brought back from retirement to extirpate his trust issues.
When the senate indicted former SGF, Babachir Lawal for corruption and breach of public service regulations in a contract awarded through his office,the President had the Attorney General probe Lawal and Magu in what appeared a dual purpose move to prevent Lawal from an EFCC probe and to let them both off without compromising integrity. President Buhari hurriedly wrote a letter to the senate exonerating the then SGF and another renominating Magu for confirmation as EFCC boss.
Babachir was probed again by the VP Osinbajo led committee only because of the massive calls to do right and the fact that the millions belonging to the NIA found in an Ikoyi apartment provided a convenient means to do that along with its DG, Ayo Oke. Technically, it meant the president was copping to the initial probe being a dubious one.
Even after Osinbajo submitted the report of his committee to the President upon return from treatment abroad,and it took another outcry to prompt him into acting on it 2 months later by sacking Babachir and not until we had all read Obasanjo’s letter reminding him of how he was shielding corrupt persons did the EFCC swoop on Babachir.
It seemed the end of the road but no, it wasn’t.Babachir fell in Magu’s hands and his present status reads-out on administrative bail. Magu’s handling of the EFCC has been shoddy to say the least but we wouldn’t expect much from a man like him.He has seized Patience Jonathan’s properties without as much as questioning her talk more prosecuting her and refused to question President Jonathan even after being named more than twice in the arms scandal involving former NSA Sambo Dasuki,inevitably leading many to ponder over who the Jonathans have a deal with-Magu or Buhari himself.
The last note worthy administrative bailee of the EFCC was Pius Anyim, ex-president Jonathan’s SGF. When it sought and got a court order to detain him for 30 more days, an EFCC source was quoted as saying it was to enable the commission verify his claims over the N520M he got from Dasuki and the N13bn he disbursed to companies he had interests in from the SGF ecological fund.The 30 days came,went and Anyim was set free on bail, not charged.
Babachir’s which very much appears an open and shut case didn’t have to wait an extra 30 days. Having already been probed and indicted by the senate and the Vice-President’s committee, the ‘further investigation’ fable wouldn’t fly easily with Buhari’s former SGF so they saved some time and released him on bail 48hrs later, allowing the President and his cronies to bask in the wondrous show they had put up for optics.
Anyim is also said to have falsely declared his assets upon assumption of office and like Lawal, committed a separate offence by contracting companies he had interests in but none was referred to the Code Of Conduct Bureau for investigation and prosecution.No government which takes corruption seriously overlooks such offences.Perhaps unlike Saraki, no one has a personal score to settle with them.
We have witnessed Buhari’s anti-corruption war go from a guaranteed win to selective then hypocritical and finally, a failure.
The question isn’t if the will power was lost,it is whether it was there in the first place.
Umar Sa’ad Hassan is a lawyer based in Kano