On the 9th of November, 2015, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde was replaced with Ibrahim Magu. A statement by president Buhari‘s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, read:
“Mr. Magu, who is an Assistant Commissioner of Police, is to take over from Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, who is proceeding on terminal leave ahead of the formal expiration of his tenure in February, next year,” .
According to The Nation, a Presidency source claimed that Lamorde’s exit was conveyed to him early in the day but his exit was handled with dignity by the President.
A source, who spoke in confidence said:
“The EFCC chairman has been removed following some allegations against him and security report.
“The Senate is looking into alleged mismanagement of N1.3trillion recovered by the anti-graft agency. The Presidency was uncomfortable with some disclosures by the petitioner, George Uboh.
“While the government does not want to tamper with the ongoing probe by the Senate, it believes it is untidy to allow the EFCC chairman to be rubbished. It is better for Lamorde to step aside.”
Another factor, which was said to have accounted for the exit of Lamorde was a security report on his alleged relationship with some former officials of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
It was gathered that the Presidency was angry that the EFCC did not take action on former Minister of Petroleum Resources Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke until the National Crimes Agency in the United Kingdom invited her for questioning.
The government’s thinking, it was learnt, was that there were sufficient grounds to prevent Diezani from travelling to the UK.
It was also learnt that the EFCC bid its time in managing the investigation of former Akwa Ibom Governor Godswill Akpabio when sister agencies raised the alarm.
Akpabio led the PDP Caucus in the Senate to defend Lamorde when the allegation of N1.3trillion fraud was made.
The EFCC has battled in the last few months to protect its image and that of Lamorde.
Uboh had in a petition to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition claimed that Lamorde and EFCC could not account for over N1trillion.
But the EFCC said the cash and assets seized from the two convicts were intact. It said there was no diversion of either cash or assets seized from a former Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun and former Bayelsa Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha.
The commission said Balogun forfeited N2, 258,100,516.87 in 11 accounts, including accruing interest. It also said the N3, 128, 230, 294.83 realised from the assets of Alamieyeseigha was remitted to the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Finance in favour of Bayelsa State.
As part of the security report, a petition by a lawyer, Leo Ekpenyong to President Muhammadu Buhari was also said to have triggered Lamorde’s exit.
Ekpenyong said in part:
“It would be recalled that sequel to my petitions against the former Governor Akpabio’s administration dated 8th, 22nd June and August 3rd respectively, the Senate Minority leader was invited by the EFCC and after his departure from the Commission he bragged to his supporters that Lamorde was under his control and nothing reasonable would come out of his investigation.“
It was against this background that I raised the alarm, urging the Federal Government to sack Lamorde since it was apparent that justice would not be done to our petitions taking into consideration the deliberate and unnecessary delays at investigations and possible prosecution.
There was also concern last night that Lamorde’s running battle with a former acting director of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit(NFIU), Juliet Ibekaku, accounted for his removal.
“The crisis of confidence between Lamorde and Ibekaku was dirty. She made many documents available to the Presidency, “ said an insider.