Power play threatens Buhari’s anti-graft war

Posted by News Express | 25 June 2016 | 3,210 times

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Intense power play among top appointees of President Muhammadu Buhari is threatening the administration’s anti-corruption agenda, as longstanding cold war among agencies central to the fight, goes full blown.

It was reliably gathered that some top aides of the president are locked in power tussle and fighting ‘dirty’ over the modus operandi as well as strategies of prosecuting the anti-graft war, thus leading to a sharp division among top echelons in the Presidency.

The power game, it was further gathered, has also resulted in an unhealthy competition and mudslinging among the powerful individuals.

At the centre of the feud, according to findings by Blueprint, are the Chief of Staff to the President, Malam Abba Kyari, the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd), the Director General, Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), and the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.

The inter-agency rivalry over who should be on the driver’s seat in the anti-corruption campaign is majorly among the trios of the Ministry of Justice, DSS and the EFCC.

While the EFCC is the agency constitutionally charged with the responsibility of investigating and prosecuting financial crimes suspects, the AGF is also relying on the constitutional power his office enjoys, to institute or discontinue any prosecution, as a platform to claim leadership of the anti-graft war.

To give this a bite, the minister of justice recently constituted a body known as the National Prosecution Coordinating Committee, which was inaugurated by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

And on the other hand, the DSS is alleged to have lately engaged in arresting suspects on charges of corruption and fraud, a role that runs contrary to its constitutional mandate of primary domestic intelligence gathering for the protection of senior government officials, particularly the president and state governors.

The war of attrition, our correspondent gathered, started early this year with some top Presidency shots expressing reservations on the tactics of the EFCC boss, who was appointed in November, 2015.

Magu’s ‘rigid and uncompromising bent’, is alleged to have created enemies for him within the corridors of power, especially on cases involving some powerful individuals.

Some interest groups within the Presidency are reportedly mounting pressure on the president to drop Magu as the government’s anti-corruption’s ‘poster boy’, for what they called his “high handedness, brute force and lack of tact” in carrying out the commission’s mandate.

Blueprint also gathered on good authority that Magu’s letter of confirmation to the Senate as substantive chair was signed by President Buhari in March before his trip to the United States for the Nuclear Security Summit.

“The missive is, however, yet to be transmitted as some close aides of the president, are still breathing down on the president’s neck not to confirm the appointment,” it was gathered.

Sources familiar with the situation informed Blueprint that, “the EFCC and its acting chairman, are only victims of a greater power struggle involving Kyari and Daura, on one hand and the NSA, on the other hand.”

“Monguno entered the bad books of the duo (Kyari and Daura) with his first assignment, when he constituted a panel to probe arms deal during the past regime, without consulting the two men.

“The DSS people were particularly embittered that no officer of the Service was included in the panel that was made up entirely of military personnel, except for Magu, who was then an inconsequential staff of the EFCC. So he is seen as Magu’s godfather in this government,” said the source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The recent arrest of a member of the Arms Procurement Probe panel, AVM Umar Mohammed (retd) by the DSS last weekend, precipitated the infighting.

Mohammed’s arrest, according to a committee source, was specifically targeted at rubbishing the integrity of the NSA, who nominated him into the committee and the work of the panel as a whole.

“You know the panel is concluding the second part of its assignment which is now focused on the Army, and it is clear all the three past Army chiefs that served from 2007 have been indicted by the report. These people now moved in swiftly to rubbish whatever could be the outcome by questioning the integrity of key members of the panel,” our source said.

The arrested retired AVM, according to our source, is a wealthy man with about three aircrafts to his name under his company, Easyjet Limited.

But to Magu’s antagonists, there is the need to “bring in some finesse in the way he goes about prosecuting this war. I can assure you that the agencies are not working at cross-purposes as some may want to believe.

“All the outfits have their functions cut out for them. Yes, it is important we fight corruption and that the president is not pretending about it, as he is ready to give the best of support, going by his commitment to Nigerians. But this must be done within the ambit of the law.

This is what the agencies seek to achieve, no more, no less. There is no power play of sort.”

“Again, it should be stated very aptly that President Buhari is not a leader anybody can unnecessarily influence because he is one that has seen it all.  With him, sentiment does not hold sway. If he is pleased with Magu’s performance, at the appropriate time, he will put forward his name to the Senate in accordance with the law,” insisted another top presidency source who begged not to be quoted.

“This is just a very messy power play and if the government does not take a serious action within the next 24 hours, then it is going to be very dangerous,” the source added.

•Sourced from Blueprint. Photo shows President Buhari.

Source: News Express

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