•EFCC ‘not probing Kyari’
WHO sent some security agents to the home of the President’s Chief of Staff (COS), Mr. Abba Kyari, on January 7?
That was the poser raised in intelligence circles yesterday amid indication of a fresh plot to remove Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Acting Chairman Ibrahim Magu by implicating him in the alleged “phantom invasion” of Kyari’s residence.
The EFCC said yesterday that it was not investigating Kyari, adding that it did not deploy its operatives in his Defence House quarters.
The alleged invasion was said to have been hatched by some forces and targeted at provoking President Muhammadu Buhari to sack Magu.
The Nation learnt that some security agents were deployed in the highly fortified Defence House in the night to protect Kyari from being arrested.
It was learnt that soldiers at the sentry did not allow the agents in because there were no EFCC operatives in sight.
The security men merely acted on “false alert”, it was learnt.
A source, who pleaded not to be named because of the “sensitivity of the matter”, said: “In the past few weeks, the plot to remove Magu has been heightened by some forces who are still uncomfortable with his continued stay in office. Apart from the attack on his farmhouse, he has been receiving threat messages and representations by some National Assembly members to sack him. It has reached a level that Magu now keeps his itinerary to himself and aborts some official trips.
“The phantom attempt to arrest the Chief of Staff was a script to create a wedge between the Presidency and Magu because EFCC operatives were not deployed in Defence House penultimate Sunday.
“The military sentry at the Defence House was shocked to see a deployment of some security agents coming at midnight to protect the Chief of Staff without any signal of a threat to his life or plans to arrest him.
“The armed soldiers insisted on a directive from above before the security agents could gain access to the Defence House. They turned back the operatives from the House.
“It was obvious that the security agents acted on a false alert because when calls were placed to Magu, he said he did not order any operation. This development buoyed the determination of the soldiers in Defence House to resist the security agents.”
The source added: “Some forces were just desperate to take advantage of any situation to get Magu out of EFCC.”
In a statement last night by its Acting Head of Media and Publicity, Samie Amaddin, the EFCC said it was not probing Kyari and did not make any attempt to arrest him.
“Ordinarily, we would have ignored the report and allow it to end up in the dustbin of history, for that is where it actually belongs, but for the fact that it is a follow–up to an earlier similar report also titled: EFCC’s attempt to arrest Abba Kyari sparks panic in Aso Rock, which we considered an attempt to silence the commission from carrying on with its constitutional duties of fighting corruption; we have considered it necessary to clarify issues in relation thereof.
“For the purpose of clarification, the modus operandi of the EFCC does not accommodate the alleged invasion as the modus operandi of the commission has always been to scrutinise petitions upon receipt, look at the petition on the face value, if it has merit and to carry out preliminary investigation to establish a prima facie case.
“Once all these requirements are satisfied, the suspect(s) is (are) invited for questioning and interrogation and his (their) statement(s) taken under caution.
“All these are prelude to arraignment in a competent court of jurisdiction and a suspect who is being invited for interrogation is formally sent an invitation letter to that effect.
“The so-called invasion is entirely alien to the established mode of operations of the EFCC, established over the last one-and-a-half decades in line with international best practices.
“Firstly, the commission will like to state that it is not investigating Mr. Kyari nor is it aware of any petition against him.
“Secondly, EFCC does not ‘invade’ the homes or offices of anyone the commission wishes to interact with in furtherance of the discharge of its mandate.
“The commission will properly notify and invite any person it wants to assist it in the resolution of any matter under examination.
“Thirdly, EFCC does not go to carry out invitations or arrests in the middle of the night. As a transparent organisation the commission carries out all its operations in broad daylight.
“These and other standard operational procedures are what guide the activities of the commission and which have earned it worldwide acclaim over the years.
“The commission was therefore taken aback when an online medium went public with the story of a purported “impending arrest”. EFCC does not do speculative investigations or arrests. Therefore, the action of those behind the false reports could best be described as shouting wolf where none exists.
“It must be underscored that EFCC makes it a point of duty and professional responsibility to act within the ambit of the law. The commission cannot be intimated and crying wolf by anyone cannot stop the commission from carrying out its constitutional responsibility.”