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Magu: Salami panel rounds off probe, to submit reports to Buhari

Panel rejected all our client’s requests to invite witnesses — Magu’s lawyer

THE Justice Ayo Salami-led Presidential panel probing the time in office of the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, has reportedly rounded off its probe.

According to Tosin Ojaomo, lawyer to Magu, the panel has started putting together its report which it would soon submit to president Buhari.

Ojaomo, however, noted that the suspended EFCC boss did not have a chance to properly defend himself since the panel rejected his appeal to invite those who would have been able to explain the allegations against him.

The lawyer said, “Justice Salami refused to subpoena those we asked him to serve. He had drafted subpoenas to the chief of naval staff, minister of defence, chief of staff to the President, the DG NFIU, the AGF and Lamorde.

“I am sure he refused to issue the subpoenas because of the way the AGF refused to come forward. So, we have closed our defence and I am sure the report would be submitted anytime from now.

“Magu was forced to defend himself without any witness of his coming forward. But no one accused Magu of stealing. In fact, those who have pending cases in court only asked that the charges filed against them be withdrawn.”

It was gathered that Magu had earlier, in the course of the probe requested to invite the President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari; the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi; and Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ibas to the panel.

Others who were supposed to appear before the panel include- a former Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde; the Director General of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, Modibbo Hamman-Tukur; EFCC’s Acting Director, Directorate of Asset Forfeiture and Recovery Management, Mr Aliyu Yusuf; an EFCC lawyer, Bala Sanga; and a former EFCC official, Isa Dongoyaro.

It was learnt that last the Salami-led panel had drafted a subpoena addressed to the naval chief, minister and others to appear before it last week.

However, it was learnt that the panel made a U-turn and decided not to invite them anymore following the refusal of the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to honour a summons.

Naija Times had reported how the Attorney General said his invitation to appear before the panel is unconstitutional.

The panel, which sat for three months, summoned at least 50 persons, including activist, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN); General Overseer, Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministry, Prophet Emmanuel Omale; senior advocate, Godwin Obla; Managing Director of First City Monument Bank, Adam Nuru; as well as several government officials.

Recall that President Buhari had given the seven-man panel while inaugurating it on July 3, 2020, 45 days to round off its activities and submit its report.

The President listed the seven members of the panel to include Salami (North-Central); Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Michael Ogbezi (South-South); a representative of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Muhammad Babadoko (North-Central); and Hassan Abdullahi from the Department of State Services (North-Central).

Others are Muhammad Shamsudeen from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (North-West), Douglas Egweme from the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (South-East) and Kazeem Atitebi (South-West), who serves as the secretary.

The President subsequently gave the panel an additional six weeks to conclude its probe.

Magu was detained for 10 days when the panel began sitting but was later released.
He was suspended from office along with over 12 other senior officials of the commission, including the EFCC Secretary, Ola Olukoyede.

The suspended EFCC boss was accused of being unable to account for the interest that accrued to over N500bn in recovered funds among other allegations.

Several rumours dogged Magu’s probe while it lasted but chunk of them had been debunked and apologies offered to appropriate quarters.

Even one pastor Omale ‘touted’ as ‘Magu’s pastor’ who he allegedly used as conduit to launder money and purchase a house in Dubai through his FCMB account has since been apoloised to by the bank.

The bank issued an apology, claiming the N573m credited to the bank account was done in error and their officials could not discover the error for four years or thereabouts.

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