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One of the reported allegations against Magu was his alleged insubordination to the Attorney General. Most Commissions are part of The Presidency and do not report to a Minister. They have a measure of operational independence. Is this the case with EFCC? Thread.
According to the EFCC Act 2004, the Chairman of EFCC is an Executive Chairman and the only full time member of the Commission. He is also an ‘Accounting Officer, which means that he can be called to personally account for all government money in his care for the rest of his life.
Other members of the Commission include the CBN Governor, Comptroller Genrals of Customs and Immigration, MD NDIC, Chairman NDLEA, Registrar of CAC, PG of NIPOST, DG NIA and DG SSS. There should also be representation of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Finance and Justice.
The Chief Executives of some agencies are appointed on the recommendation of the supervising Minister. Not so the Chairman of EFCC. The Chairman of EFCC is appointed directly by the President under S.171 of the Constitution, not by the recommendation of the Attorney General.
However, Section 43 of the EFCC Act says: “The Attorney General of the Federation may make rules or regulations with respect to the exercise of any of the duties, functions or powers of the Commission under this Act.” Ignoring him would therefore be insubordination.
Disposal of government assets is a sensitive issues that can expose any Chief Executive or Accounting Officer to allegations of corruption or selling the assets to his friends and cronies. It is therefore prudent for Accounting Officers to be very careful and transparent.
The sensible thing would be to invite the Federal Ministry of Works to independently value the assets before putting them up for sale. It is the valuation they put on the asset that confirms how much the Federal Government is willing to sell them for, before any auction.
A sensible Accounting Officer will also constitute an Inter-Ministerial Committee for the asset disposal. Membership will be drawn from the Office of the Head of Service, Accountant General, Auditor General, Ministry of Finance, etc. Perhaps also a sister agency like ICPC.
For EFCC, it’s Act is very clear on asset disposal. Section 31(4) says : “The Attorney General of the Federation may make rules or regulations for the disposal or sale of any property or assets forfeited pursuant to this Act.” You can’t ignore the Attorney General on this.
Although the EFCC is empowered by its Act to prosecute any offences under the Act, Section 174 of the Constitution empowers the Attorney General to take over the prosecution of any offence under any Act, including the EFCC Act. You can’t ignore his Constitutional powers to do so.
From experience, civil servants will goad the Chief Executive to do whatever he likes, especially when the supervising authority is someone that he or they may not like or trust. Not wise. The law is the law until it is changed. In all instances, the Constitution is supreme.
Of course, Magu is innocent until proven guilty. The issues of alleged insubordination are not, of themselves, criminal in nature. Alleged insubordination is the focus of this thread, not the allegations bordering on criminality. Hope it’s been helpful. End.
Under the Public Service Rules 2009, Insubordination is classed as ‘Misconduct’ (an act of wrong-doing or an improper behaviour which is inimical to the image of the service), rather than ‘Serious Misconduct’, like Corruption. Still, it It can lead to termination and retirement.
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