By Danlami Nmodu
The Justice Ayo Salami-led Judicial Commission of Inquiry has been called upon to recall all the witnesses who testified against suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu in his absence.
Newsdiaryonline reports that Magu made this call through a letter addressed to the Chairman of the probe panel by his counsel, Wahab Shittu, dated 4th September 2020.
The letter sighted by Newsdiaryonline reads: “We write to humbly request, in the interest of fair hearing, for the recall of several witnesses who appeared and testified before this judicial commission of inquiry at the time our client was not allowed to participate in the proceedings and cross-examine such witnesses in these proceedings.
“The above request is premised on the fact that our client based on the instrument constituting this panel signed by the President on 3rd of July 2020 is the subject matter of these inquiry, to wit;
“INSTRUMENT CONSTITUTING A JUDICIAL COMMISSiON OF INQUIRY FOR THE INVESTIGATION OF MR. MAGU IBRAHIM, THE AG. CHAIRMAN OF THE EFCC FOR ALLEGED ABUSE OF OFFICE AND MISMANAGEMENT OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT RECOVERED ASSETS AND FINANCES FROM MAY 2015 TO MAY 2020”
Shittu further said, “This request has become necessary and compelling in view of the extensive scope of the terms of reference as follows;
“The judicial commission shall inquire into-
“1. Investigate, verify and review the recommendations of the Presidential committee on audit of recovered assets as it relates to the EFCC, with a view to ascertaining the complicity or otherwise of the Ag. Chairman, Ibrahim Magu in the mismanagement of the assets recovered by the commission;
“2. Identify avenues through which the recovered assets are dissipated and seized, recovered, forfeited (interim and final) assets are valued, managed disposed or mismanaged with a view to ascertain compliance or otherwise with extant laws, regulations processes and procedures
“3. Review the existing procedures on the management of the seized, recovered and forfeited assets (interim and final) and proffer standard Operational procedures for the management of seized, recovered and forfeited assets;
“4. To determine whether movable or immovable assets including funds or cash recovered during his tenure, whether locally in Nigeria or abroad are being kept safely in a manner as to preserve their original value;
“5. Identify the location of all movable or immovable assets, funds or cash that are under interim or final forfeiture based on administrative or orders of the courts;
“6. Identify the Bank accounts to which recovered funds or cash were paid into and whether generated interest from the recovered funds or cash were properly accounted for;
“7. Whether all the assets could be properly accounted for by the Ag. Chairman and take measures to;
“8. Confirm if any, of the assets has been diverted to the benefit of the Ag. Chairman, his family, relation, friends or favored staff; and
“9. Recovered any of such diverted assets, funds or cash, if any and recommend, if the funds should be returned back to the EFCC or appropriate government agency, entities or individuals.
Investigation into the Abuse of Office and Non-Compliance with Official Directives
“To investigate and report on the existence or otherwise of dereliction of duty and abuse of processes and procedures against the Ag. Chairman as it relates to his conduct on the following matters:
“1. Investigation of P&ID and determine what happened when the case was first referred to him in 2016 and high profile local and international cases inclusive of the case of Dieziani Alison Madueke and others;
“2. Complaints by the UK National Crime Agency (NCA) in London;
“3. Complaint of non-compliance with Court Orders;
“4. Complaint of non-compliance with procurement and financial management laws; and
“5. Non-compliance with presidential and Ministerial directives.
“6. Audit the Account of EFCC as a Legal Entity in with public service Rules, EFCC Act and other Extant Laws: Audit the Assets and Finances of the EFCC as a legal entity from 2015-2020, with a view to ascertaining compliance or otherwise with procurement procedures of the EFCC in line with the provisions of the procurement Act.
“7. Investigation into personal Enrichment with the Assets Recovered: (a) to investigate and report on corruption and money laundering allegations involving the Ag. Chairman and Bureau De Change operators, as well as some of his associates; as per the intelligence report and petitions. (b) Work with any other persons, organization or corporate entity to achieve the objectives of the Terms of Reference and make any other observation and recommendations as may be necessary.
“Make appropriate recommendations concerning each person, authority and organization investigated by the Judicial Commission and what Judicial or administrative measures, if any, should be taken to recover all misappropriated funds and assets.”
“Based on the foregoing, our client is entitled to participate in the entirety of the proceedings including afforded the opportunity to cross-examine all witnesses in these proceedings.
Magu’s lawyer added, “We will also humbly request for guidance on specific procedure, schedule and timeline earmarked for the defence to enable our client adequately prepare and call relevant and material witnesses/documentary evidence ahead of his defence in the proceedings.
This information will enable our client inform the panel ahead of proceedings of the material witnesses to be invited for purposes of our client’s defence.
“We look forward to your usual and kind cooperation in the above regard.
“Please accept our best professional regards.”