Suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has accused the presidential panel probing the activities of the anti-graft agency under his leadership of being hostile to him anytime he attempts to take up issue with those testifying against him.
Magu made the accusation against the panel, chaired by Justice Isa Ayo Salami, a retired President of the Court of Appeal, through one of his lawyers, Tosin Ojaomo, in a statement titled ‘10 pertinent questions for Salami-led panel over Magu,’ which was issued on Friday.
President Muhammadu Buhari set up the panel, following a memo written by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), containing some allegations against Magu.
Apart from allegations contained in the Malami’s memo, other accusations have since surfaced against the suspended EFCC boss.
But in the statement wondered why the panel is hostile to M Magu anytime he tries to take up issues with those invited to testify against him.
The lawyer wondered why the panel is inviting suspects facing EFCC trial to give evidence against Magu. He questioned the basis of the panel’s invitation to a senior lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), who he stated is “a lawyer that is defending the looters of our common patrimony, especially those who are under EFCC’s investigations and trial.”
Ojaomo said: “Is it not curious that while the lawyer to Magu, Wahab Shittu, deliberately refused to disclose what transpired before the panel, Ozekhome and Obla issued statements and made public what transpired before the panel?
“What is the propriety of the panel’s invitation to a disgruntled official of the EFCC, Nuru Buhari Dalhatu, to come and testify against Mr Magu while the said Dalhatu is under investigation for misconduct and fraternising with suspects?
“What is the justification for the panel’s invitation of another senior lawyer, Godwin Obla (SAN), who is currently facing EFCC’s trial with an indicted judge of the Federal High Court?
“Is it not strange that Obla made a damning revelation on what transpired before the panel and went ahead to demand his outrageous legal fees of N763 million and the striking out of the charge against him?
“How come that a fact-finding panel over allegations of corruption against Mr Magu has now turned to a platform where certain individuals who have issues against the suspended EFCC boss are being invited to testify against him?
“There is the need to ask this important question: Has any witness testified that he or she gave xyz amount to Mr Magu in order to compromise cases before him?
“Why is it that the Salami-)ed panel is yet to serve and confront Mr Magu with all the allegations against him and at are the terms of reference of the panel?”
Magu was arrested on July 6 and dragged before the panel sitting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. He subsequently spent nine days in police detention, during which he was suspended as EFCC acting chairman, and his police details withdrawn. His residence at Karu, Abuja, was also searched, while Mohammed Umar has since been named as the new acting chairman of the anti-graft agency.
The Salami-led panel is expected to resume its sitting on Tuesday, August 4. It had adjourned on Tuesday, July 28 for the Eid-el-Kabir celebration.