Following the submission of a report by an investigative panel headed by retired Justice Ayo Salami to President Muhammadu Buhari, Wahab Shittu, counsel to suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, has said that his client will be vindicated.
The panel, which submitted its report to Buhari on Friday, asked the President to look outside the police force in appointing the next chairman of the EFCC.
Shittu in a statement said Magu remained incorruptible and his stellar achievements in EFCC was unprecedented in the history of the commission.
He said, “We wish to state that in view of today’s submission of the much awaited report of Justice Isa Salami-led Judicial Commission of Inquiry to President Muhammadu Buhari, we wish to state with high sense of responsibility that the suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr Ibrahim Magu, will be vindicated at the end of the day.
“We observed that Hon Justice Isa Salami, in a televised speech at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, made certain recommendations outside the mandate of the panel and proceeded to make case for the headship of the commission outside the Nigeria Police Force.
“We wish to state that all over the world, the police is central to law enforcement. The EFCC is a law enforcement agency, separating the police from the EFCC is anti- law enforcement.
“How come that Salami panel did not say anything on alleged mismanagement recovered assets, insubordination and abuse of office against Mr Magu? We are further alarmed that Salami could in the public glare at the seat of power, attacked the police as an institution and recommended the exit of police officers from the EFCC within two years. We wish to ask at this juncture what happened to the huge amount of money expended by the Federal Government on these police officers in terms of investigations, money laundering and specialized economic
“We are further urging the general public to take note of these salient points: Mr Magu did not collect any bribe from anybody as we insist that all allegations of diversion of recovered assets leveled against our client were baseless and unfounded. Please note that Magu is innocent of all the allegations leveled against him.
“The forfeited assets and the proposed sale is the main reason they are pushing for his removal from EFCC. Powerful government officials are not comfortable with Mr Magu’s incorruptible style of leadership. They prefer somebody they can manipulate. There is no doubt that Mr Magu must have stepped on powerful toes in the course of doing his job. Salami panel was mandated to sit for 45 days but ended up sitting for about 6 months.
“We also anchor our position in view of the following incontrovertible facts: In the past, many false stories against Magu had featured in the public space only for such unfounded allegations to collapse like pack of cards during the proceedings of the Salami panel.
“Biased constitution of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry
As admitted by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), the allegations leading to the establishment of the judicial commission of inquiry, was as a result of reports from law enforcement and security an agency.
“Notwithstanding the above, membership of the judicial commission of inquiry was constituted mainly by our client’s accusers including membership of the office of the AGF, thereby raising significant issues of fair hearing against our client.”