Judicial Commission of Inquiry led by retired Justice, Ayo Salami has recommended that in appointing a new chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), consideration should be given to candidates from other law enforcement or security agencies and core staff as provided for in the EFCC (Establishment) Act of 2004.
Chairman of the panel revealed the recommendation on Friday while submitting the report of his team on the investigation of Ibrahim Magu, suspended Acting Chairman of EFCC, to President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja.
The retired Justice of the Court of Appeal noted that the four chairmen of EFCC since inception were from the police.
He said: “Permit me to say that four successive chairmen of EFCC from inception, have been drawn from the police, therefore, in appointing a new chairman of EFCC, consideration should be given to candidates from other law enforcement or security agencies and qualified core staff of EFCC as provided for in Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004.
“It is also important to point out that at the moment, 970 policemen (114 drivers, 641 mobile policemen and 215 operations), are on secondment in the EFCC, therefore an exit plan for the disengagement of the police and other personnel within two years from now should be considered. This will address the issue of no promotion of core staff for over nine years.
“Our thinking here is that whoever you are appointing other than a core EFCC staff, should be in transitional capacity of two years during which period, arrangement would be made for appointment of any of the core staff who has been commended by National Crime Agency, UK and other international law enforcement for their professionalism.”
Salami said that the suspended Acting Chairman of EFCC, Magu, and 113 witnesses appeared and testified before the commission, adding that 46 petitions and memoranda were presented by individuals and organisations with complaints against the suspended Acting Chairman, EFCC or both.
He disclosed that the commission also embarked on a nationwide physical verification of recovered forfeited assets, comprising real estates, automobiles, vessels and non-cash assets.
He lauded Buhari for the initiative to dispose all forfeited assets ”because of the poor condition of the assets we saw during our physical verification nationwide.”
He also thanked the President for giving members of the commission the wonderful opportunity to serve the nation.
‘Own the fight’
Buhari, while receiving the report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry on the probe of Magu, said his desire was to make Nigeria a country that has no tolerance for corruption, but one where the menace is vigorously battled.
The President called on all stakeholders, and indeed every Nigerian, to own the fight against corruption at their respective levels in order to protect Nigeria’s political and economic systems, and the continuous existence of the Nigerian State from the serious threat of corruption.
Buhari, who promised that the fight against corruption is one that must be fought without fear or favour, thanked members of the commission for their dedication and commitment to the fight against corruption.
The President, who expressed the preparedness of his administration “to go out to possess those lands by cutting off any stream that nourishes the seed of corruption and supports its growth”, said that “in the fight against corruption, no one is too big to tackle, as no individual is bigger than the Nigerian State.”
The Salami panel was set up in June by President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate allegations levelled against the suspended EFCC chief by Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami.
Magu has denied any wrong doing.