Nigeria anti-graft chief grilled over corruption claims

The head of Nigeria's main anti-graft agency has been questioned by an investigative panel over allegations of corruption, officials said Tuesday, in a move critics insisted was aimed at ousting him.

Ibrahim Magu, the head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), was grilled Monday by a special committee probing the alleged sale of seized assets and insubordination.

"In consonance with the principle of fairness and justice, it was needful that the chairman be given opportunity to respond to the allegations, which are weighty in nature," a senior presidency source said on condition of anonymity.

"In such (an) elevated position as that of EFCC Chairman, the holder of the position must be above suspicion."

A spokesman for the EFCC on Monday denied reports in local media that Magu had been arrested and said he had "honoured an invitation" from the investigative panel.

Local media said the anti-graft boss was held overnight at a police station but there was no official confirmation.

Neither the presidency nor EFCC would comment on reports that Magu had been suspended.

The questioning comes after Nigeria's attorney general in June sent a memo to President Muhammadu Buhari detailing a raft of allegations against Magu that were leaked to the press.

The attorney general accused the anti-graft head of selling off assets recovered during corruption investigations and of "insubordination".

Critics said the moves aimed at getting rid of Magu and part of a tussle for control at the top of Nigeria's notoriously opaque elite.

Femi Odekunle, a member of a presidential advisory committee against corruption, called it a "power-play by power blocs in the corridors of power".

Former police officer Magu has been a key figure in the supposed anti-corruption drive pledged by Buhari when he was elected for a first term in 2015.

Buhari came to power promising to tackle the rampant official graft in Nigeria, but there has been little major progress and critics say that mainly political opponents have been targeted.

Topics: Nigeria , COVID-19 , Ibrahim Magu , Economic and Financial Crimes Commission , Muhammadu Buhari
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