Barrister Wahab Shittu, lawyer to the suspended Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu has reacted to reports that the Justice Ayo Salami panel has submitted its report to president Muhammadu Buhari on Friday.
In the main, Shittu has insisted that despite what has happened so far, Magu will ultimately be vindicated.
Shittu in a statement made available to Newsdiaryonline fumed at some of the recommendations by the Salami Panel, especially the call to remove police officers from headship of EFCC.
For the record, read the full text of Shittu’s statement below:
Salami probe: Magu will be vindicated- Wahab Shittu
We wish to state that in view of today’s submission of the much awaited report of Justice Isa Salami – led Judicial Commission of Enquiry 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 (EFCC), 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 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 crimes.
Without preempting President Muhammadu Buhari on his decision over the report, we urge the President to make informed decision and do the needful on the matter.
We also wish to state with high sense of responsibility that Magu remains incorruptible and his stellar achievements in EFCC is unprecedented in the history of the commission
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. These false allegations include:
NFIU Alleged N573million Property in Dubai
• The reported inflow of N573million into the account of Pastor Emmanuel Omale’s church allegedly used to purchase property in Dubai for Magu was shown to be false during the proceedings. For the avoidance of doubt, the FCMB publicly confirmed through press statements and advertorials that there was an error entry and apologized during the proceedings.
No Link of Laundered Funds by Pastor Omale on Behalf of Magu
• It was not established that Pastor Emmanuel Omale laundered any funds for Magu.
No Evidence of Diversion or Illegal Sale of Forfeited Assets.
• It was not established that Magu sold, converted or diverted any of the forfeited assets to anyone.
No Link of Laundered Funds by BDC Operators traced to Magu
• All the BDC operators including the Shanono brothers denied any business or financial links with Magu during the proceedings and no such evidence was found. In the proceedings, Magu’s alleged links to the BDC operators and money laundering as contained in the NFIU report and PCARA reports collapsed like a pack of cards.
No Link of Laundered Funds by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) and Femi Falana SAN traced to Magu
• There is no proof that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) Femi Falana SAN or any other person laundered funds on behalf of Magu
No Allegation of Bribery Established Against Magu
• There is no proof of allegation of bribery established against Magu throughout the proceedings
No Proof that Funds in the TSA account with CBN missing
• The CBN confirmed that all recovered funds were lodged in the TSA account with CBN and details of such funds were furnished to the Judicial Commission of Inquiry by the CBN.
No Interest on Funds lodged in TSA Account with CBN
• The Accountant-General of the Federation confirmed that funds kept in TSA account with CBN do not generate interest and as such no interest on funds lodged in TSA account was capable of being diverted.
• Although the Judicial Commission of Inquiry took up issues with Magu on security votes, this was adequately explained by Magu that such funds were utilized for operational and intelligence purposes with receipts of expenditure provided in the appropriate cases.
• Details of Recovered Assets across the EFCC Zones furnished to the Judicial Commission of Inquiry
• Details of Forfeited Vessels furnished to the Judicial Commission of Inquiry by the Nigerian Navy
• Details of Assets forfeited to the Federal Government by Mrs Diezani Allison- Maduekwe and associates intact and furnished to the Judicial Commission of Inquiry
• Allegation of N75million alleged traced to Magu boys proven to be false before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry
• No allegation of purchase of N750million property belonging to Late Ojo Maduekwe’s Estate traced to Magu. Saleh Ahmadu who bought the property confirmed he has no links to Magu.
Biased Constitution Of The Judicial Commission Of Inquiry
As admitted by the Honourable 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.
The membership of the judicial commission of inquiry are as follows:
a. Justice Ayo Isa Salami (rtd), former PCA, North-Central, Chairman
b. DIG Anthony Ogbizi Michael (NPF)- South-South, Deputy Chairman
c. Muhammad Abubakar Babadoko- Federal Ministry of Justice (North Central)
d. Hassan Yahaya Abdulahi (DSS) (North Central)
e. Muhammad Shamsudeen (OAGF) (North West)
f. Douglas Egweme (NFIU), (South East)
g. Kazeem Attitebi (South-West), Secretary.
Professor Itse Sagay’s Position on the panel’s composition.
The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof Itse Sagay SAN, has also faulted the composition of the judicial commission of inquiry on the ground of bias as follows;
“I criticize the Salami Panel for taking evidence from the accusers behind Magu’s back and for not giving him the petitions against him in advance of his defence. Also from the report we read, the panel is packed with representatives of DSS, Ministry of Justice and others from security agencies, these are also his accusers”
The HAGF Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN is aware that this composition breaches fair hearing as decided by settled authorities including LPDC V FAWEHINMI (1985) NWLR Pt.7 300.
It is instructive to state that the memo of AGF Malami SAN to Mr President including the letter addressed to the President from NFIU triggered the establishment of the judicial commission of inquiry, thereby making AGF Malami SAN as the main accuser of our client for alleged corrupt enrichment amongst several other allegations.
Regrettably and shockingly inspite of public assurances by Mr Abubakar Malami SAN to appear before the judicial commission of inquiry to testify and notwithstanding issuance of subpoena on the HAGF by the commission of inquiry to testify, the HAGF Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN refused to appear to justify the serious allegations of corrupt enrichment leveled against our client.
The HAGF failed to justify the allegations against our client contrary to the principle that “He who asserts must prove” The Chief Law Officer of the Federation defied the law by failing to appear to valid summons issued by the judicial commission of inquiry.
In specific terms, there was no evidence linking our client with the following allegations:
• Absence Of Proof Of Allegations Of Corrupt Enrichment Against Magu
• Lack of evidence of corrupt enrichment against Magu
• NFIU Alleged N573million Property in Dubai
• No Evidence of Diversion or Illegal Sale of Forfeited Assets.
• No Link of Laundered Funds by Pastor Omale on Behalf of our Client
• No Link of Laundered Funds by BDC Operators traced to our client
• No Link of Laundered Funds by Femi Falana SAN traced to our client
• No Allegation of Bribery Established Against our Client
• No Proof that Funds in the TSA account with CBN missing
• No Interest on Funds lodged in TSA Account with CBN
The following details were obliged to the Judicial Commission of Inquiry directly from the relevant quarters during the proceedings.
• Details of recovered funds in TSA Accounts furnished to the commission by the CBN
• Details of Recovered Assets across the EFCC Zones furnished to the Judicial Commission of Inquiry
• Details of Forfeited Vessels furnished to the Judicial Commission of Inquiry.
Wahab Shittu Esq