Monday, 19 December 2016

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How FCTA Paid For Magu’s Official Residence In Abuja

Contrary to the reported memo from the Department of State Services (DSS) that Air Commodore Umar Mohammed (retd) paid N40million for the residence of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu, documents from the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) have now revealed that the authority actually secured and paid for the property.

The documents sighted by LEADERSHIP further indicated that the FCTA paid N39.63million for two-year rent and furnishing of the official quarters to an agent, M/S Valcour SA Nigeria Ltd.
This is in sharp contrast to the DSS memo which  claimed that the cost of the rented apartment was N40million at N20million per annum.
The documents further debunked the DSS memo that the furnishing of the residence was awarded to a firm owned by the ex -Air Chief, Africa Energy – at the cost N43million as it was only M/S Valcour SA Nigeria Ltd that handled the transaction on the property.
The Senate had last week Thursday declined Magu’s confirmation on grounds of what it called “security report” from the DSS, about six months after President Muhammadu Buhari forwarded his name to the upper chamber for necessary confirmation.
The Senate did not screen Magu on the basis of alleged failure to pass integrity test arising from the said security report. It further claimed that it would be returning Magu’s nomination to Buhari for his further action.
But the document with Reference No: FCTA/TR/ CPO/451/2016 and dated March 31,2016 showed that the FCTA directed the Branch Controller of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Abuja Branch to debit its account and credit the account M/S Valcour SA Nigeria Ltd with the amount of N39.63million.
Some of the documents also include the correspondence between the FCTA and the Valcour SA Nigeria Ltd, especially the FCTA letter dated March 30, 2016 in which the provisional award of contract for the rent and furnishing of the residential accommodation for security operatives (EFCC) was conveyed to Valcour SA Nigeria Ltd.
LEADERSHIP further gathered that the property located in highbrow Maitama, Abuja is an official quarters and not a gift as stated in the memo. It is known in FCTA parlance as Safe House.
According to an official of the FCTA, who sought anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the matter, the choice property is usually secured for very important personalities like the Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, service chiefs, ministers and other top government officials.
He said, “Some of us were surprised about the controversy over the property. It is an official residence. The FCTA offers secured property to certain categories of public officials. We will direct an agent to search and inform us when he has secured an acceptable one and we will inform the concerned official accordingly.
“I can tell you that two elected public officials rejected these Safe Houses accommodation and collected N150million each in lieu of the property”.
“So the residence in which Mr Magu is staying is a federal government property and does not belong to any individual.”
LEADERSHIP also learnt that security operatives conducted searches on personal accounts of Magu in the last five years. But multiple sources in the matter disclosed that there was nothing tangible to nail him in this regard.
Security operatives were also said to have combed major cities in Lagos, Kano, Maiduguri, Port Harcourt, Ibadan and Calabar in search of alleged properties owned by Magu. But the exercise was said to have run into a hitch as relevant evidence to link him to ownership of such alleged properties could not be ascertained.
This development, LEADERSHIP gathered, might not be unconnected to Senate’s refusal to confirm Magu in good time until a five-page DSS security report signed by one Folashade Bello on October 3, 2016 was used on December 15, 2016 to stall his confirmation.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (who was then acting president) had on June 17, 2016, forwarded Magu’s name to the Senate, asking the upper chamber to confirm him as the EFCC chairman.
But the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, did not read the letter until July 14, 2016.

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