Magu Unable to Submit Defence to Panel, Says Counsel

Ibrahim Magu

Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja

Suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commision (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, thursday appeared before the Justice Ayo Salami-led presidential panel probing allegations of financial infraction against him, but the panel did not attend to him.

Magu’s counsel, Mr. Wahab Shittu, confirmed to Channels TV that Magu was before the panel to defend the 21-point allegations preferred against him by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami.

This comes as a human rights lawyer, Mr. Agozie Benedict Okonkwo, has berated the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Professor Itse Sagay and Magu’s counsel, Mr. Tosin Ojaomo, over their criticism of the minister.
THISDAY gathered that Magu went to the panel with his lead counsel and senior lawyer, Shittu, and waited from 12pm to 7pm but was not attended to.

The panel had previously refused to accept Magu’s submissions.
Magu, who is seeking to debunk all allegations levelled against him, is expected to continue his presentation today.
Meanwhile, Okonkwo has accused Sagay and Ojaomo, who was the prosecutor for the defunct Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property, of demonstrating a determination to avenge Magu’s ordeal on Malami, for daring to touch what they considered sacred to their interest which the AGF had desecrated.

“While Sagay, my senior colleague, has never hidden his dislike for Malami since the inception of this administration, Oluwatosin is the lawyer to Ibrahim Magu at the ongoing presidential panel grilling him over the allegations levelled against him in the AGF’s memo.

“Therefore, one will not be surprised if any of the duo would take such a negative position against Malami at this point. They wish to demarket him at all cost, including fabricating stories that are obviously lies.

“This is unbecoming of personalities who are supposed to help to shape the anti-corruption efforts of the administration rather than castigating for selfish reasons,” he said.

“Oluwatosin Ojaomo, as one of the defunct SPIP prosecutors, had accused the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), of sitting on all the SPIP files handed over to him on the directives of the president in September 2019, when he dissolved the SPIP and directing that he (AGF) should immediately take over all outstanding investigations and other activities of the SPIP.

“In response to Mr. President’s directives, the AGF being very mindful of all the corruption allegations levelled against the defunct SPIP, which led to its dissolution, had set up a panel that looked into all files in question and distributed them to the appropriate security agencies who are verifying them to determine if there are prima facie cases established.

“It is therefore very laughable for anyone, including Oluwatosin, to attempt to confuse the public that there is any infraction against the AGF in handling those files.

“As a lawyer, Oluwatosin should also realise that a poorly investigated case cannot be allowed to go to court by the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation. So, he should be patient and allow the agencies verifying those files to complete their assignments,” he added.

He said Sagay, on his part, had accused Malami of lukewarm attitude to the anti-corruption war, adding that “he doesn’t play his own part. As the AGF, Sagay said that he is supposed to coordinate common platforms involving the fight, common platforms where PACAC, ICPC and EFCC operate.

“Ironically, one of the AGF’s allegations against the deposed EFCC Acting Chairman was act of insubordination. Of all the other security agencies, the AGF only petitioned the former Acting EFCC Chairman. Events playing out have clearly shown that Sagay, as an elderly person, misled Ibrahim Magu by encouraging him to ignore the directives of the Hon. Attorney-General as the supervising authority,” he said.

When contacted, Ojaomo, promised to “respond soon” to the allegations