Embattled EFCC Boss, Magu Writes Salami Panel, Makes Seven Demands
The embattled EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu while speaking through his lawyer, Wahab Shittu, in a letter directed to the investigative committee on Friday, said he had not seen the petitions containing the allegations against him, nor had the committee availed him with their terms of reference.
“Mr Chairman, since the 6th of July when our client honoured your invitation, he has been consistently applying to the Committee to be given the petitions containing the allegations of CONSPIRACY, CORRUPT ENRICHMENT, ABUSE OF POWER/OFFICE, which request has not been honoured or obliged till date.”
“Our client has also informed us that he remains unaware of the terms of reference of this distinguished Committee.”
The letter also related Mr Magu’s discomfort with his continued detention at the FCID “without being informed of the allegations against him and the deserved opportunity to timeously study and respond to same.”
The letter further contained a complaint that, “witnesses are called and examined by the Committee behind his back and without allowing him and counsel of his choice to participate in the proceedings involving these witnesses.”
He said he had been a target of campaigns of calumny by the media taking advantage of his detention to spread damaging, false and prejudicial allegations.
Among such “unfounded allegations which never featured in the proceedings of the Committee thus far,” the letter said, were that Mr Magu gave Vice President Yemi Osinbajo four billion naira (an allegation Mr Osinbajo has denied); that he ran secret accounts; procured cronies to front for him;, and that he acquired properties in Dubai.
“These campaigns of calumny have greatly affected the morale of our client and damaged his hard earned reputation and that of the Commission (EFCC),” the letter read.
“It continued, “that our client as a result of this campaign of calumny has been paraded like a common criminal and subjected to all manners of insults and embarrassment just for serving his nation diligently and efficiently as the arrow-head of the anti-corruption campaign of this administration.
“This unfortunate development is happening even before the determination of the petitions before this Honourable Committee with prejudicial consequences.”
He said Magu needed bail because the print and electronic media had taken undue advantage of his detention to launch a campaign of calumny against him.
He made several demands including making the terms of reference of the committee available to Magu and giving him opportunity to know the allegations against him.
He said witnesses were being called and examined by the committee behind Magu’s back and at the same time disallowing him and his counsel from participating in the proceedings involving such witnesses.
Magu’s counsel, Mr. Wahab Shittu made the demands in a July 10, 2020 letter of plea to the panel.
He said: “We act as counsel of choice to Mr. Ibrahim Mustapha Magu, the Ag. Chairman of the EFCC hereinafter referred to as “our Client” and on whose behalf and specific instructions we write as follows:
“Our client has briefed and drawn our attention to the letter dated 6th of July, 2020 ref No. PIC/AR/VOL.1/01 wherein he was informed as follows:
“The above-mentioned panel is investigating above listed offences in which you feature prominently, and the need to obtain clarification from you has become necessary.
“You are therefore directed to with immediate effect accompany the Assistant Commissioner of Police ACP Gabriel Elaigwu and team to report to the Chairman and members of the Committee today 6th July 2020.
“Ensure compliance and receipt of my warmest regards please.”
Counsel said that Magu, on receiving the said letter “followed the ACP Gabriel Elaigwu and team to the Banquet Hall, State House Abuja and has since then been in custody and appearing before your esteemed Committee.”
Shittu said since his appearance before the panel, he had not been served petitions against him.
He added:” Mr. Chairman, since the 6th of July, 2020 when our Client honored your invitation, he has been consistently applying to the Committee to be given the petitions containing the allegations of Conspiracy, Corrupt Enrichment, Abuse of Office/Power which request has not been honored or obliged till date.
“Our client has also informed us that he remains unaware of the terms of reference of this distinguished Committee.
“Sir, our client has also drawn our attention to the following:
” That he has been in detention and kept at the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) of the Nigerian Police Force, Area 10 Abuja since the 6th of July till date without being informed of the allegations leveled against him and the deserved opportunity to timeously study and respond to same.
“That witnesses are called and examined by the committee behind his back and without allowing him and Counsel of his choice to participate in the proceedings involving these witnesses…”
The counsel made seven demands from Salami panel.
He said: “In view of our observations above, may we humbly request from your Lordship, the Chairman of the Committee and other distinguished members:
i) That our client will appreciate if afforded the privilege of the terms of reference of this distinguished Committee.
ii) That the petitions containing the allegations be given to our client to afford him the opportunity of knowing the allegations against him, study same and prepare a robust defence.
iii) That our client will appreciate the intervention of the Committee in ordering the release of our client from custody to enable him defend himself adequately and attend to his deteriorating health in custody.
iv) That our client be given adequate time to respond to the allegations against him including providing necessary materials and evidence before this Honourable Committee.
v) That our client be afforded the opportunity to confront the petitioners with his own defence.
vi) That witnesses be examined in his presence and that of his counsel.
vii) That our client be guaranteed his right to fair hearing including his right to liberty in the course of the proceedings of this distinguished Committee.
“My Lord, the Chairman of the Committee and Honourable Members, our client will appreciate your taking timeous steps in addressing the fundamental concerns of our client raised in this letter.
“Whilst awaiting your urgent intervention on the issues raised herein please be assured my lord of our best wishes and professional regards.”