By Kingsley Nwezeh
The suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, yesterday honoured the invitation of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) in Abuja.
Sources close to the matter also disclosed that Magu was at the CCB office in Abuja on Thursday, December 3, 2020 with his lawyers over the CCB’s invitation on his assets declaration.
But the suspended EFCC boss could not be attended to as the CCB was having its annual lecture with a theme titled: “Fighting Corruption for Socio-Economic Development”.
It was further gathered that Magu later visited the CCB on Friday, December 4, 2020 where he spent couple of hours for the interview on his assets declaration.
The CCB had earlier invited Magu on November 17, 2020 and asked him to come along with: Acknowledgement slips of all his assets declaration since he joined the public service; Copies of his appointment letter, acceptance, records of service and payslips from January to May, 2020; and all title documents of his landed properties both developed and undeveloped.
But Magu replied in his two letters to the CCB that he would not be able to honour its invitation on the grounds of lack of access to the relevant documents which the CCB is demanding from him.
Speaking through his lawyer, Mr Wahab Shittu, Magu explained that he did not shun the CCB invitation as reported by some sections of the media but only sought a new date over lack of access to relevant documents.
The letter reads in part, “ We wish to state with high sense of responsibility that we have written two letters to the Chairman of the CBB, intimating him about the inability of our client to have access to the relevant documents as required by the CCB.
“The letters, which were dated November 16 and 17, 2020, were addressed to the CCB Chairman”.
Shittu said: “The letters were titled- Re: Investigation of Activities- Letter of Invitation, Breach of Code of Conduct for Public Officers.
“Please note that the letters were stamped and acknowledged by the office of the CCB Chairman on the said date of November 17, 2020. We also wish to state the said letters were copied to the Director of Intelligence, Investigation and Monitoring while the letters were also stamped and acknowledged by his office”.
On Magu’s inability to honour the invitation initially, he said: “Explaining the inability of our client to honour the invitation, we stated as follows: “Your letter dated November 2, 2020 with reference No.-CCB/HQ/II & M/007/2093 addressed to our client has been passed unto us to respond to as follows:
“In the referred letter, our client was requested to appear before your distinguished body on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at 11am prompt concerning the above subject matter. We have firm instructions to inform your distinguished body that our client, regrettably will not be able to honour today’s invitation in view of certain circumstances beyond his control.
“Our client’s inability to honour your invitation is as a result of his inability to access his office and the requested documents since his suspension from office. We wish to inform you that the documents which you requested for and other personal documents are still in his personal office where he has been denied access up to date.”
He further requested that the invitation “to our client be extended pending the conclusion of the exercise of the mandate of the presidential Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up against our client and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“This request has become necessary since most of the documents requested by your Bureau were removed from our client’s offices by the Department of State Security Service (DSS) and the request of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry in the absence of our client while our client was in detention.
Shittu’s letter further stated that “based on the foregoing, it would be impossible for our client to answer your questions and provides those documents which are in the possession of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry and the Department of State Services (DSS).
“We therefore kindly request your distinguished body to graciously extend the invitation extended to our client pending the return of our client’s documents (which you requested).
“Please note that there is the need for our client to have access to the relevant documents in order to prepare for his defence to your invitation.
“In the circumstances, until such a time when our client gains access to his personal file in his office where most of the requested documents are, it is impracticable to honour your invitation, even if our client is willing to do so as an obedient and patriotic citizen.”