Probe: Magu angry, says Justice Salami panel acting like ‘Kangaroo court’

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The suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, is angry with Justice Ayo Salami-led Presidential Investigation Committee.

His grouse, according to him, was that he was not given fair hearing in the on-going probe of his activities as the head of EFCC in the past five years.

He said the mode of operation of the panel headed by a respected retired President of the Court of Appeal is alien to natural justice.

He said since he was dragged before the panel on Monday and detained at the Force Headquarters at Area 10, he said he has not seen the petitions against him nor told his crimes and that he is yet to know the terms of reference of the commission.

Magu said it appears to him that the Justice Salami panel is conducting, at best, a sham legal proceedings to give the impression of a fair legal process.

He said what never transpired at the panel are being dished out with his name battered, his hard earned integrity torn into shreds.

He also said witnesses were being called and examined by the committee behind him and at the same time disallowing him and his counsel from participating in the proceedings involving such witnesses.

Magu said this must stop and is requesting for seven reliefs before the panel moves ahead.

He has consequently fired a letter to the Justice Salami-led panel to make his demand official.

The letter which had been sighted by “News On The Go” was signed by his cerebral lawyer, Mr Wahab Kunle Shittu.

The letter by Mr. Wahab Shittu containing the demands was dated July 10, 2020 letter of plea to the panel.

He said Magu needed the bail because the print and electronic media had taken undue advantage of his detention to launch a campaign of calumny against him.

He made six other demands including making the terms of reference of the committee available to Magu and giving him opportunity to know the allegations against him.

The letter reads: “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.”

He said Magu was being maligned in the media including alleged keeping of secret accounts, acquisition of properties in Dubai and giving N4billion to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

He added: “That both print and electronic media have taken undue advantage of the detention of our client to launch a campaign of calumny against him spreading in the process consistently highly prejudicial, damaging and untrue allegations on a daily basis.

“These unfounded allegations which never featured in the proceedings of the committee thus far include the allegation that our client gave the Vice President, Pro. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, the sum of N4billion and that our client maintains secret accounts, procured cronies to front for him and that he acquired properties in Dubai.

“These campaigns of calumny have greatly affected the moral of our client and damaged his hard-earned reputation and that of the Commission.

“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 arrowhead of the anti-corruption agenda of this Administration.

“This unfortunate development happening before the determination of the petitions by Honourable Committee with prejudicial consequences.”

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.”

(Credit: News On The Go)

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