No Legal Backing For Magu’s Continued Stay In Office – Lawyer
A legal practitioner, Robert Emukperuo, has defended a Federal High Court’s ruling in the suit involving the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibraheem Magu.
He explained that while the nominations or appointments of the President are subject to the approval of the Senate, there is no legal backing for Mr Magu’s continued stay in office.
He said: Show me where in the EFCC Act that says you can appoint the EFCC Chairman in acting capacity over and over again or show me where in the constitution that says the president can appoint somebody in acting capacity, it’s not there.
“Certainly not the EFCC Act, certainly not the public service rule. The power of appointment is one that must be backed up by law.”
Also according to him, once an appointee is rejected, he ought to vacate office immediately especially if the conditions surrounding the rejection are not amended.
“Once an appointee is rejected, then for me that terminates the appointment of that person.
“There appears to be no limit on the number of times an appointee whose appointment is subject to the confirmation can be presented to the Senate.
“But what we must understand is that if the facts that influenced the rejection of that appointee remains unchanged, frankly I see no reason why the rejection will not stand,” he stated.
President Buhari had appointed Mr Magu as the acting chair of the EFCC on November 9, 2015 and subsequently, on July 14, 2016, sought his confirmation – an issue which has been a major topic of dispute between the Senate and the Presidency for months.
On December 15, 2016, the Senate rejected Mr Magu’s nomination as the Chairman of the anti-graft agency, citing a report by the Department of State Security which deemed him unfit for the role.
The President, however, stuck with Mr Magu and re-nominated him in January 2017 for the role. Two months later, on March 15, 2017, the Senate again rejected him and asked the President to replace him.
He has, however, remained in his position as EFCC chairman, a decision that angered the lawmakers.
Responding to this and the recent ruling of the court, Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, who was also a guest on Sunrise Daily on Friday said the decisions of the National Assembly ought to be respected.
“As an institution, we deserve to be respected,” he stressed.
When asked of his opinion on insinuations that the effort by the Senate to remove Mr Magu may be linked to cases that he is investigating against Senators that are currently sitting in the institution, he described it as laughable.
“This is laughable. Laughable in the sense that all those cases they are talking about predate this 8th assembly.
“They are cases that have been on ground all along and they are already even in court so how is it possible.
“Meanwhile, as far as I’m concerned, the EFCC is an institution and since they are already prosecuting the case how is it possible that until Ibrahim Magu is on seat those cases cannot be prosecuted,” he questioned.
With the court okaying the Senate’s rejection of Mr Magu and the Presidency’s resilience in keeping him in acting capacity, many are not sure and are eagerly waiting to see the outcome of the lingering controversy.