The Justice Ayo Salami panel has recommended the sack of Ibrahim Magu, a commissioner of police, as the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The panel, which submitted its report to President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday, also asked the president to appoint a new EFCC chairman in an interim position for two years.
Buhari should also look outside the police force in appointing the next chairman, the panel recommended.
At the presentation of its final report, Salami, chairman of the panel, said: “Your Excellency, permit me to say that four successive chairmen of the 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 in the 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.
“Your Excellency, 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 an 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.”
The panel, in its interim report, recommended Magu’s sack and prosecution over allegations of corruption and abuse of office.
In July, it was also reported that the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) was preparing charges against Magu.
Abubakar Malami, the attorney-general of the federation, had petitioned the president, levelling allegations of corruption and insubordination against Magu.
Magu was subsequently arrested, detained and suspended as the chairman of the anti-graft agency.
Receiving the report of the judicial commission of inquiry on Friday, Buhari said: “Corruption is present in all countries. Some governments treat it with levity. Some fight it all the time. I want Nigeria to be counted among those countries that do not tolerate but fight corruption.
“The sad reality confronting us as a people is that there is corruption almost everywhere; at many levels of government, and nearly every stratum of our society. Mindful of the threat that corruption poses to us as a nation, this administration has specifically focused on the fight against corruption.
“As a government, and in furtherance of our anti-corruption programme, we have since inception engaged in many reforms in removing corruption including but not limited to the enforcement of treasury single account (TSA), strict implementation of the bank verification number (BVN) policy and signing unto the open government partnership. A lot of efforts have gone into building and development of our anti-corruption institutions.
”We have so far kept faith with our promise and shall remain committed until Nigeria triumphs over the evil of corruption, attain a prosperous economic status and surmounts her security challenges.
”However, the stark reality of widespread corruption becomes poignant when allegations of corruption touches on the leadership of an institution set up by law to coordinate and enforce all economic and financial crimes. It is an abomination that strikes at the root, and undermines the Government’s anti-corruption programme.
”It was in response to the serious allegations against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission that I set up a Panel headed by the Honourable Justice Isa Ayo Salami, retired President of the Court of Appeal, via an Instrument dated 3rd July 2020 pursuant to the Tribunals of Inquiry Act (Cap T21, LFN, 2004).
”We recognise that there are more grounds to cover in the war against corruption, and we are prepared to go out to possess those lands by cutting off any stream that nourishes the seed of corruption and supports its growth.
”Let it be known that in the fight against corruption, no one is too big to tackle, as no individual is bigger than the Nigerian state!”