By Kingsley Nweze
The former acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, yesterday protested the decision of the presidential panel probing his tenure to invite people being tried by the agency for corruption to testify against him, saying it was not justifiable.
In a statement issued on his behalf by his counsel, Tosin Ojaomo, Magu also accused the panel headed by Ayo Salami, a former president of the appeal court, of being hostile to him.
Magu’s nightmare started after the attorney-general of the federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, accused him of mismanaging loot recovered by the anti-graft agency.
He was arrested and taken before the Salami panel. Magu was kept in detention for 10 days before he was eventually granted bail.
In his statement yesterday, Magu’s lawyer queried: “Why is the panel inviting suspects facing EFCC trial to testify against him? What is the basis of the panel’s invitation to a senior lawyer, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), a lawyer that is defending the looters of our common patrimony, especially those who are under EFCC’s investigations and trial?
“Is it not curious that while the lawyer to Magu, Wahab Shittu, deliberately refused to disclose what transpired before the panel, Ozekhome and Obla issued statements and made public what transpired before the panel.
“What is the propriety of the panel’s invitation to a disgruntled official of the EFCC, Nuru Buhari Dalhatu, to come and testify against Mr. Magu while the said Dalhatu is under investigation for misconduct and fraternizing with suspects?
“What is the justification for the panel’s invitation of another senior lawyer, Godwin Obla (SAN), who is currently facing EFCC’s trial with an indicted judge of the Federal High Court?
“Is it not strange that Obla made a damning revelation on what transpired before the panel and went ahead to demand for his outrageous legal fees of N763 million and the striking out of the charge against him?
“Why is the panel hostile to Mr. Magu at any time he tried to take up issues with those invited to testify against him?
“How come that a fact finding panel over allegations of corruption against Mr. Magu has now turned to a platform where certain individuals whose actions and antecedents fit into the description ‘corruption enablers’ as well as ‘haters of the war against corruption’ and its leadership are being invited to testify against Mr. Magu?”
Ojaomo also claimed that no witness had accused Magu of corruption, while the panel had also not served the former EFCC boss details of the allegations against him.
He said; “There is the need to ask this important question: Has any witness testified that he or she gave xyz amount to Mr. Magu in order to compromise cases before him?
“Why is it that the Salami-led panel is yet to serve and confront Mr. Magu with all the allegations against him and what are the terms of reference of the panel?”