The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), has written a letter to the Presidential panel probing the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.
Malami, who told the panel led by Justice Ayo Salami that he would not be able to appear before the investigative body because of the privileges of his office.
The development comes barely two weeks after the AGF boasted that he would appear before the panel to testify if he was invited.
Magu’s legal team led by Mr. Wahab Shittu, had subpoenaed Malami, demanding that he appear before the panel to substantiate the allegations he preferred against the suspended EFCC boss.
However, it was learnt that during the sitting of the panel on Wednesday, Salami read out a letter from Malami stating that he would no longer be able to appear.
Confirming the incident to The PUNCH on Thursday, a lawyer to Magu, Tosin Ojaomo, said they were all shocked when Justice Salami read out the letter.
He said: “We were all gathered at the Presidential Villa for the day’s proceedings when Justice Salami read out a letter from the AGF. The AGF stated that he would not be able to testify because his constitutional role does not include testifying. He said his duty was to prosecute and file charges.
“I was shocked because Section 174 of the constitution does not give the AGF such privileges. Isn’t it funny that the AGF who levelled a series of allegations against Magu is now refusing to substantiate the allegations that emanated from his office?”
Magu was suspended in July based on some reports by investigative panels set up by the AGF.
Some of the allegations were that Magu was unable to account for the interest accrued to over N500 billion in recovered funds and that he allegedly bought a house in Dubai for N570 million.
The suspended EFCC boss was also said to be at loggerheads with the AGF and had refused to obey instructions from his office.
However, in the course of the investigation by the panel, the probe was extended to several other cases including that of convicted former Inspector-General of Police, Tafa Balogun.
Over 40 persons including those standing trial for corruption have testified before the panel, a move which has been criticised by Magu’s team and other anti-corruption groups.
The panel is supposed to have ended its sitting since last month but was given a six-week extension which lapses this month.