Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
There are indications that the presidency may have extended the period of sitting of the Justice Ayo Salami-led panel investigating the activities of the suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to enable it conclude pending matters before submission of an interim report as required by the instrument setting up the panel.
The panel was due to submit an interim report to President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday but could not do so having sought more time to conclude proceedings and submit a final report.
Magu, it was learnt, has not presented his defence to the 22-point allegation levelled against him by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami.
With the expiration of the initial 45 days allowed before the submission of the interim report yesterday, the panel may have deferred to the demands of Magu’s legal team that it would be unjust for the panel to entertain witnesses testifying against Magu without according him fair trial.
His lawyers were also said to have kicked against the panel submitting an interim report without his input.
Magu has neither been served a copy of the allegations against him nor allowed to present his defence.
A source close to the panel told THISDAY that the panel sat yesterday and would continue today.
“If they sought an extension, then they got it because they sat today (yesterday) and they will continue tommorow (today). They can’t submit a report because there are pending issues,” he said.
Magu’s lead Counsel, Mr Wahab Shittu, also rejected speculations that claimed that the interim report of the panel indicted his client.
“I am not aware of any report. My advice is to await official report before you publish anything against my client. There is no truth in the rumour.
“What is the source of the report? Are you aware that the panel is yet to confront Magu with the allegations. “Besides, the instrument was only made available to him on Saturday, August 8”, he said.