Nigeria's leader orders corruption probe into close allies

AP News
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Posted: Dec 19, 2016 9:37 AM

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered an investigation of close allies accused of graft, including the head of the commission meant to fight corruption, officials said Monday.

An official with knowledge of the investigation said it would focus on Ibrahim Magu, acting head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. Nigeria's Senate last week refused to confirm Magu's appointment as chairman of the powerful commission, citing corruption allegations by the Department of State Security.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to reporters, said also under investigation is Babachir David Lawal, the secretary to the federal government who is in Buhari's team of informal advisers.

Both men have declared their innocence.

Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu confirmed the investigation in a statement Monday, but he did not name those to be investigated.

Buhari, who won election in 2015 on a promise to halt graft, has not responded to earlier corruption allegations leveled against other appointees, including army chief Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai.

Senators said the Department of State Security report accuses Magu of living in a home provided by a bank director who is being investigated by the anti-corruption commission for allegedly helping a former minister steal millions of dollars. It also says Magu flies first-class despite Buhari's directive for public servants to use economy.

Local newspapers quoted Magu's supporters as saying he is being falsely accused by people who fear he will investigate them.

Magu's commission is investigating hundreds of people accused of siphoning billions from Nigeria's treasury.