The suspended acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has faulted a report submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari, recommending his sack and prosecution for corruption.
President Buhari, had set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry headed by retired Justice Ayo Salami-led to investigate Magu.
But as gathered, the panel, which is yet to conclude his assignment, had, in its recent interim report submitted to President Buhari, recommended the sack and prosecution of Magu for corruptly using his office as the EFCC boss, while it also advised the President to appoint a new chairman for the anti-graft agency.
However, the Salami-panel had not completed its probe of the Magu, but as it turned out, it was said with testimonies and documents the panel had received from witnesses within the days the probe had lasted, it was said enough evidence had been gathered to prosecute Magu, the reason his sack was recommended to President Buhari.
But reacting to this development, Magu’s lawyer, Wahab Shittu, said, such recommendations won’t hold ground, while he even rebuffed it, saying, Justice Salami had informed him that no such report had been submitted to the President.
Shittu said since Magu was yet to open his defence, it would be unjust for the panel to ask President Buhari to sack him, and that even if the report was an interim one, he added that it would be wrong to submit it without hearing from Magu.
“I don’t understand why we should be talking about a reaction to something that is blatantly falsehood. First, the panel is still calling witnesses. Two witnesses appeared before the panel today.
“So, if there were ongoing proceedings on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and the panel has adjourned till Monday, if witnesses are still being taken and interrogated, and documents are still being submitted, what that should suggest to you is that proceedings are ongoing and have not been concluded. Does it (then) make sense for a report to be submitted?”
“Ibrahim Magu, my client, has not opened his defence and the panel has repeatedly indicated that he would be allowed to defend himself only after witnesses have been exhausted. So, somebody who has yet to defend allegations against him, can he be indicted?
“Whether interim or final, you cannot issue the report without listening to all the witnesses and then take the defence. My reaction is that the story is planted by mischief makers. A similar falsehood was published by a newspaper and I confronted the panel yesterday (Thursday) and the chairman said how could they have issued such a report when they haven’t formally served him with the allegations and he told me to disregard the report.”
It will be recalled that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, had levelled allegations of mismanagement and lack of transparency in managing recovered assets by the EFCC against Magu, claiming he had used recovered looted funds for self enrichment.
Before he fell out of favour, Magu, had been President Buhari’s favourite for the top anti-graft agency’s job, and had occupied office for almost five years, as he resumed on November 9, 2015, even after the President’s requests for the Senate to formally confirmed him according to constitutional provisions were turned down repeatedly.