Senators may have set three conditions for Ibrahim Magu’s confirmation as Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) chairman, The Nation learnt yesterday.
The three conditions are:
•a report from President Muhammadu Buhari containing a fact-sheet on how he arrived at his decision to re-present Magu;
•withdrawal of security reports on Magu, which were presented to the Senate about six weeks ago by the Department of State Services (DSS); and
•satisfactory performance by Magu before the Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, which has been mandated to screen him. Magu must clear himself of all allegations before the committee.
The three conditions, The Nation learnt, were agreed upon by some senators.
The conditions were set at a meeting of some senators last night to create fresh hurdles for Magu.
The Presidency is believed to be lobbying senators in a bid to get Magu the job.
Some members of the kitchen cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari are said to be reaching out to Senate President Bukola Saraki, principal officers and caucuses in the Upper Chamber.
Besides, Magu’s renomination has put pressure on the APC Caucus, which has about 63 of the 109 senators.
A Senator, who spoke in confidence, said: “I must admit that Magu’s confirmation is still an issue among us. We have some senators for and against.
“At the Executive Session, we had a disagreement on whether or not the Senate President should read the President’s letter of renomination of Magu or not.
“After a bit of argument, the leadership accepted the wish of the majority to read it. We are now faced with the confirmation process.”
Another source confirmed that three conditions had been set for Magu’s confirmation by some senators, particularly by those opposed to his candidacy.
A senator from the Northwest spoke of the Upper Chamber’s readiness to confirm Magu if the DSS could withdraw the security report it had earlier sent to the Senate. In the face of the law and going by legislative business, the DSS report is still valid, he said, pleading not to be named “because of the controversy surrounding this issue”.
“It is left to the Executive to put its house in order by cooperating with the Senate.
Another senator said: “Once the President sends a comprehensive report on how Magu was cleared of all the allegations against him, we will not waste time in confirming him as the fourth EFCC chairman.
“In fact, if we get a brief from the President superseding the DSS report, we will confirm Magu. Our concern is that all these allegations have to be cleared for posterity.”
A senator from the Southeast also claimed that “where there is neither a report from the President nor withdrawal of DSS copies on Magu, the Senate will have no choice than to depend on the report of its Anti-Corruption Committee led by Sen. Utazi Chukwuka.
“This is why we have decided that the committee should also screen Magu. Before we rejected his nomination about five weeks ago, the committee could not screen him.”
Speaking with our correspondent, another high-ranking senator: “subjecting Magu to any screening process by Utazi committee is unnecessary”.
“The practice is for any nominee to appear before the Senate and respond to issues. Handling it at the committee level, if it is the plot, is a signal that Magu might be ambushed.”
Magu’s renomination has put pressure on the APC Caucus in the Senate.
It was gathered that with about 63-64 APC senators( out of 109), there is no reason why the Senate should not confirm Magu if those from the ruling party are committed to Buhari’s anti-corruption drive.
A Senator from the Northcentral said: “APC has a comfortable simple majority in the Senate to confirm Magu. We are under pressure to use our vantage position to support the anti-corruption agenda of Buhari.
“Since we are now united as APC Caucus, the onus is now on us to demonstrate this unity of purpose. This is our dilemma.”
A source spoke of intense lobbying for Magu by some associates and members of the President’s kitchen cabinet.
“The lobbying has started all over again but this time around the Presidency is not standing aloof.
“Some key figures in the Presidency, including some ministers, have been pleading with senators on Magu’s confirmation, “a senator from the Northeast added, also stressing that he should not be identified.