Computers at the Abuja office of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) were destroyed on Thursday, a day before members of a presidential panel probing Ibrahim Magu, the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC), were due to visit the facility.
The damaged computers at the NFIU office, located on Ibrahim Taiwo Street near the Presidential Villa, Asokoro, Abuja, were deemed to have had evidence crucial to the investigation of Magu by the Justice Ayo Salami (red)-led presidential panel.
The panel members were to visit the NFIU on Friday to view the transaction history of a Kaduna-based bureau de change (BDC) operator, who is said to have links with the suspended EFCC czar, on the computers before they got damaged, TheCable reports.
The BDC operator is alleged to have recently transacted businesses worth over N500 billion in different currencies — N336 billion, $435 million and €14 million.
It was learnt that the NFIU, which used to be a unit under the EFCC before it was separated as an independent agency in 2018, was said to have told the panel that the computers could not be moved to the Presidential Villa and had requested the members to visit the office to view the documents stored on them.
“Some NFIU officials had earlier in the week testified orally before the panel. However, they said they could not bring some sensitive materials before the panel because of their operational protocol,” the Punch quoted a top source as saying.
“The members of the panel subsequently scheduled a visit to the NFIU office on Friday to view some of the evidence. However, before they could get to the NFIU office, some unknown persons had broken into the place and destroyed the computers.”
However, Tosin Ojaomo, Magu’s lawyer, said his client should not be linked with the alleged destruction of the computers, saying such linkage was as an attempt to damage his client’s reputation.
He said: “Magu has nothing to do with that matter. The main office of the NFIU is inside the Central Bank of Nigeria. That is where most of their operations take place.
“People are just doing everything possible to blackmail Magu. How can Magu who is in detention send people to destroy things? The truth will soon emerge.”
Magu has since Monday been appearing before a presidential panel headed by Justice Salami, a former president of the Court of Appeal, answering questions alleged infractions.
The investigation is occurring after Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation, was said to have levelled some “weighty” corruption allegations levelled against the EFCC czar, as well as that of insubordination and misconduct.
President Buhari suspended Magu as acting EFCC Chairman on Tuesday, a development which was confirmed by Malami in a statement on Friday.