Abacha’s Loot: EFCC reacts as U.S Senator calls Ibrahim Magu ‘agent of oppression’

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has reacted to the allegation by Senator Charles Grassley of the United States that its Acting chairman, Ibrahim Magu is an ‘agent of oppression’.

In a letter dated April 1 and addressed to the Chief Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, Deborah Connor, Grassley stated that the Buhari-led administration has a high record of human right violations as he also cited a Bloomberg report which “exposed” how the Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu helped Mr Abacha launder billions of naira.

The 86-year-old Republican who appealed to the US department of justice to stop the repatriation of all funds to Nigeria, also accused the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami and Ibrahim Magu of being “agents of oppression of Mr Buhari’s political opponents.”

The letter reads in part; 

“In 2014, the Isle of Jersey, a British dependency seized more than $320m laundered by the corrupt former dictator of Nigeria, General Sani Abacha. After a long legal battle, the Isle of Jersey and the United States have entered into an agreement to repatriate this money back to Nigeria in the coming months.

“Yet, according to a recent Bloomberg article, the current Nigerian government is refusing to help the U.S. Department of Justice finalise a second forfeiture action against a separate $100m in Abacha loot.”

EFCC’s acting spokesperson, Tony Orilade, however dismissed the allegation in a statement released on Friday April 11. He insisted that the commission has spearheaded the transparent management of looted funds over the years. 

According to Orilade, the anti-corruption battle has been “impartial, objective and non-discriminatory.”

The statement reads in parts, “Mr Grassley lacks basis for linking the EFCC and Mr Magu with any oppressive or separatist agenda against government opposition.

”The allegation clearly has no bearing with the operations of the EFCC nor address(es) the painstaking efforts of Magu in tackling the menace of corruption, without fear or favour.

“The EFCC is involved in the processes of repatriation of the looted $300 million by the former Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha.

”As an anti-graft agency, the Commission has credible records of managing recovered funds and assets. It is rather unfortunate that the ranking U.S. Senator, in a desperate bid to frustrate the repatriation of the funds, embraced the well-worn antics of some unscrupulous elements in the country.

”We wish to reiterate that the EFCC under Magu is too focused on the anti-graft agenda of the government to be distracted by such empty claims of the lawmaker. Grassley and his sponsors are clearly on quicksand on this issue.”

The federal government through the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, had also reacted to Mr Grassley assertions in a statement on Thursday. Grassley’s allegation was described as “baseless” by Mr Malami.

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