Nigeria: What the Law Says About Appointment of EFCC Chairman

The possible replacement of the suspended acting chairman of the anti-graft chairman, Ibrahim Magu, has continued to elicit debate in the polity.

Mr Magu was suspended on Tuesday, following an ongoing presidential panel set up to probe allegations of stealing of recovered funds levelled by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, against Mr Magu.

He was arrested at the Wuse II office of the EFCC on Monday after which he was driven to the panel investigating him. He has been in detention while the inter-agency panel continues to sit, the fourth day running.

Many Nigerians including civil society organisations and a member of the presidential advisory committee against corruption, Femi Odekunle, have described Mr Magu's ordeal as a power play between him and Mr Malami.

Currently, as the panel has not concluded its work, there has not been any formal replacement for the embattled anti-graft boss, who has been in an acting capacity for over four years.

The eighth Senate refused to confirm Mr Magu several times while his name was never sent to the current Senate.

Many Nigerians are, however, saying the presidency may be forced to seek a replacement if Mr Magu is found guilty of the allegations and forced out of office.

Procedure for appointment

A look into Section 2(3) of the EFCC Act, 2005, shows that the most-senior EFCC official next to Mr Magu "with 15 years experience as a security operative" is expected to take charge as the head of the commission.

But the provisions of the Act clearly empowers the President "to remove officials of the commission indicted for misconduct".

"Where a vacancy occurs in the membership of the Commission, it shall be filled by the appointment of a successor to hold office for the remainder of the term of office of his predecessor, however, that the successor shall represent the same interest as his predecessor," the EFCC Act said.

The Commission's Act also says a chairman "must be a serving or retired member of any government security or law enforcement agency not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police or equivalent; possess not less than 15 years experience.

"The chairman shall be responsible for the investigation of all financial crimes including advance fee fraud, money laundering, counterfeiting, illegal charge transfers, futures market fraud, fraudulent encashment of negotiable instruments, computer credit card fraud, contract scam, etc.

"A member of the Commission may at any time be removed by the President for inability to discharge the functions of his office (whether arising from infirmity of mind or body or any other cause) or for misconduct or if the President is satisfied that it is not in the interest of the Commission or the interest of the public that the member should continue in office."

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