Salami panel asks Buhari to sack, prosecute Magu for corruption

By AdvocateNews on 22/08/2020

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Ibrahim Magu
Ibrahim Magu

The presidential panel probing Ibrahim Magu, suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has recommended his sack.

In its interim report submitted on Wednesday, the panel headed, by Ayo Salami, retired president of the court of appeal, also recommended that Magu should be prosecuted over allegations of corruption and abuse of office.

Magu is also accused of violating the code of conduct law by allegedly failing to declare all his assets when he assumed office in 2015.

TheCable reports that the panel also recommended the appointment of a new chairman for the anti-graft agency “without further delay”.

In a letter dated July 3, 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari had directed the panel to submit its “interim reports to me from time to time”.

Mohammed Umar, former director of operations at the EFCC, has been in charge of the commission in acting capacity since July 6 when Magu was whisked before the panel by a combined team of Department of State Services (DSS) and officers from the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) of the police in Abuja.

He was detained at area 10 of the FCT police command for nine days before being granted bail.

The travails of Magu, a commissioner of police, followed a memo by Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, who accused him of “grave malfeasance”.

He was alleged to have mishandled the recovered loot and sold seized assets to his associates.

Magu was also alleged to have purchased a property in Dubai, United Arab Emirates using a pastor as a conduit.

He has since denied all the allegations which he described as “nonsense”, once saying: “what I am going through is a case of dog eats dog”.

The former acting chairman of EFCC has also accused the panel of not giving him fair hearing.

Through Wahab Shittu, his counsel, Magu has written several letters to the panel, demanding to be served a copy of the charges against him in order to prepare for defence.

Buhari had appointed him in 2015 but the senate declined to confirm his appointment, citing a DSS report which indicted him of corruption — although Magus denied any wrongdoing.

Reacting to the report Friday, Magu’s lawyer, Shittu, said Justice Salami had informed him that no such report had been submitted to the President.

Shittu said Magu had yet to open his defence and that it would be unjust for the panel to recommend his sacking.

He said, “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?”

The lawyer said even if the report was an interim one, it would be wrong to submit it without hearing from Magu.   

Shittu added, “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.”

Posted 22/08/2020 04:51:08 AM

 

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