Alleged Harassment: Court Stops EFCC From Arresting Ozekhome Over Magu Criticism

A photo combination showing human rights lawyer, Mike Ozekhome and ex-EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu.

 

A Federal High Court in Abuja has restrained the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from inviting, harassing and threatening to arrest or detain a constitutional lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, for criticising its former Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu.

The court, in a judgment that was delivered on Friday by Justice Inyang Ekwo, held that serial acts of intimidation and constant invitations the anti-graft agency extended to the senior lawyer, as well as threats to arrest, detain and humiliate him, over publications and speeches he made “in respect of the apparent opaqueness and lopsidedness of the corruption fight of the 1st Respondent (EFCC) under the leadership of the 2nd Respondent (Magu)”, were illegal, unlawful, wrongful, unconstitutional.

Justice Ekwo held that the action of the agency constituted a blatant violation of the applicant’s fundamental rights as enshrined in Sections 35, 37, 39 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), and Articles 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12 & 14 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Ratification and Enforcement Act, Cap. A9 LFN 2004.

The judgment followed a fundamental right enforcement suit Mister Ozekhome lodged before the court.

Cited as 1st to 3rd Respondents in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/324/2018, were the EFCC, Magu and one of its lead operatives, Abubakar Aliyu Madaki.

Ozekhome had in the suit, told the court that EFCC had continued to harass him for being a vocal critic of the lopsided nature of President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption war led by Magu.

He told the court that aside from repeatedly summoning him to appear for questioning, the agency, froze his bank account after he was paid his legal fees totalling the sum of N75million, by the former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose.

READ ALSO: I Seriously Regret Supporting Buhari In 2015 – Dino Melaye

Ozekhome maintained that one of the reasons the EFCC made him its primary target, was due to the fact that he secured so many legal victories against it in various hierarchies of courts in the country.

He told the court that threats from the Respondents were to shut him up from further criticisms of “the despicable and unjust manner of their fight against corruption in Nigeria”.

He said he did not commit any offence to warrant the incessant invitations and threats to arrest, detain or declare him wanted by the Respondents.

Besides, he told the court that the account from which the ₦75 million was paid to him, belonged to the former governor of Ekiti State, Fayose, who he said had not been convicted by any court to warrant labelling the money as proceed of crime.

Mister Ozekhome averred that it took the intervention of the Federal High Court in Lagos to unfreeze his bank account.

Consequently, he prayed the court to among other things, declare that he was entitled to receive legal fees for professional services he rendered to clients, including to Fayose and that he is not bound or obligated to determine the source of funds used in paying for legal services he rendered.

The applicant further asked the court to compel the Respondents to publish an unreserved apology to him in three prominent dailies for the breach of his right.

As well as for an order directing the Respondents to jointly and severally pay the sum of ₦5 billion to him as exemplary damages for wanting violation of his rights.

However, the EFCC, in a counter-affidavit that was deposed to by one of its operatives, Usman Aliyu, urged the court to dismiss the suit.

The Commission told the court that Ozekhome was being investigated for a lot of cases bordering on money laundering and tax evasion, based on an intelligence report from the Nigeria Financial Intelligent Unit, NFIU.

It told the court that the applicant received various sums of money at different times from DAAR Investment and Holding Company Limited, Ekiti State Government and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, without payment of taxes due to both the Federal and Ekiti state governments.

More so, the EFCC told the court that further investigation revealed an attempt by the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience, to launder money through the Applicant in the sum of ₦1 billion.

Delivering judgment in the matter on Thursday, Justice Ekwo said he was satisfied that Ozekhome established a case of intimidation and harassment by the Respondents.

He held that though the court would always restrain itself from interfering with the functions of statutory bodies like the EFCC, “but that is only in so far as such agency is demonstrably shown to be acting pursuant to the veritable spirit of the law”, Justice Ekwo added.

According to the Judge, “Where the act of such a statutory body is shown to be manifestly predicated on ill-will, malice and animosity, the law will intervene. The Court will never allow the law to be used as an instrument of vendetta or vindictiveness as established in this case.

“On the whole, I find that the Applicant has established a clear case of animus by the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Respondents in the manner of incessant invitation to him.

“This has established the fact that his fundamental rights as enshrined in Ss. 35, 37, 39 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), and, Articles 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12 & 14 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Ratification and Enforcement Act, Cap. A9 LFN is likely to be contravened.

“In other words, the essence of this case in my opinion is to stop the Respondents from the likely contravening the rights of the Applicant by their actions toward him; where the case is that of likely breach, that is, threat on the part of the Respondents”.

Though the court made consequential orders restraining the Respondents from inviting, arresting or detaining the Applicant, it, however, declined to either award damages in his favour or compel EFCC to apologize to him.

It held that such reliefs would only apply, “where the case is founded on where the infringement has occurred or is occurring”.

Appointment Of New EFCC Chairman Came As A Shock – Magu’s Lawyer

 

Tosin Ajaomo, the lawyer to the former acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, on Tuesday said the appointment of a new boss to head the anti-graft agency came as a shock.

President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier today asked the Senate to confirm Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa as substantive EFCC Chairman.

In a letter to the President of the Senate, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, the President said he was acting in accordance with Paragraph 2(3) of Part1, CAP E1 of EFCC Act 2004.

But speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Ajaomo said justice has not been served in the allegations of corruption levelled against the erstwhile EFCC boss.

“Sincerely I need to tell you that this appointment came to me as a shock. There is still an unfinished assignment that was pending. I was expecting that the issue of Magu would have been sorted out before moving to another stage,” he said.

“Unfortunately, we just got this news today that a new Chairman has been nominated by the President and his name has been forwarded to the Senate.”

READ ALSO: Buhari Asks Senate To Confirm 40-Year-Old Abdulrasheed Bawa As EFCC Boss

The legal practitioner admitted that President Buhari has the power by law to appoint a new tzar for the anti-graft agency.

He however noted that when Justice Ayo Salami-led panel set up by the President to investigate Magu on the graft allegations, the Federal Government should have made the report of the findings public.

“It is obvious that when you talk of justice, you know what justice is all about. Somebody was suspended to be investigated, waiting for the report on the same issue. As an acting Chairman of the commission, he was suspended for an allegation that has not been proven against him.

“At the end of the day, the report which everybody was expecting to know whether the man has been found wanting or not, suddenly no report came out and another appointment was made,” he added.

Magu was on July 10, 2020 suspended from office by President Buhari, who directed the EFCC Director of Operations, Mohammed Umar, to take charge and oversee the activities of the commission.

The presidential directive, according to the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, was to allow for an unhindered inquiry by the Presidential Investigation Panel under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act and other relevant laws.

In July, Magu was arrested dramatically in front of the EFCC Wuse II office and driven to the Presidential Villa where the panel sat. He was also detained for more than four days on the directive of the panel.

The corruption allegations were levelled against him by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.

Four months after his suspension, the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) summoned Magu who appeared before it on November 17 with documents of all his landed properties.

Why Magu Didn’t Honour CCB’s Invitation – Lawyer

BREAKING: Police Promote EFCC Boss Magu, 17 Others
File photo: Ibrahim Magu

 

The legal counsel to suspended EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu, on Sunday said his client “did not shun” a Code of Conduct Bureau invitation.

Mr Magu was expected to appear before the CCB on November 17, where he was expected to produce acknowledgment slips of all the asset declarations he made since he joined public service, with all documents of certified true copies.

But Magu’s lawyer, Wahab Shittu, said his client did not have access to the relevant documents.

READ ALSO: (Magu Probe) No One Is Too Big To Tackle, Says Buhari

“We wish to state with a high sense of responsibility that we have written two letters to the Chairman of the CBB, intimating him about the inability of our client to have access to the relevant documents as required by the CCB,” Mr Shittu said in a statement on Sunday.

“The letters, which were dated November 16 and 17, 2020, were addressed to the CCB Chairman.

“The letters were titled- Re: Investigation of Activities- Letter of Invitation, Breach of Code of Conduct for Public Officers

“Please note that the letters were stamped and acknowledged by the office of the CCB Chairman on the said date of November 17, 2020.

“We also wish to state the said letters were copied to the Director of Intelligence, Investigation, and Monitoring while the letters were also stamped and acknowledged by his office.”

Meanwhile, a presidential panel investigating Mr Magu for corruption submitted its report to President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday.

The panel, headed by a retired justice and former president of the appeal court, Ayo Salami, presented the reports contained in four boxes at the council chambers of the presidential villa.

President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the panel in July and was given 45 days to carry out the assignment but the time frame was extended further after the panel requested more time.

Alleged Corruption: Lawyer Says Magu Will Be Vindicated, Urges Buhari To Do The Needful

Ibrahim Magu, EFCC Chairman, Senate
A file photo of the suspended acting EFCC chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu.

 

“The suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, will be vindicated at the end of the day,” his lawyer, Wahab Shittu has said.

Shittu made the remark in a statement on Friday, following the submission of the report of the Justice Ayo Salami led Judicial Commission of Enquiry to President Muhammadu Buhari.

He believes his client is not guilty of the corruption allegations against him and urged the President to make an informed decision on the matter and do the needful.

According to the legal practitioner, Magu did not collect any bribe from anybody and all the allegations of diversion of recovered assets against him are baseless and unfounded.

He stressed that the suspended EFCC boss was innocent, alleging that the forfeited assets and the proposed sale were the main reasons his removal from the agency was being pushed.

READ ALSO: FG Offers N65bn To ASUU For Earned Allowances, Revitalisation Fund

The lawyer also claimed that some powerful government officials were not comfortable with Magu’s “incorruptible style of leadership”, saying they preferred someone they could manipulate.

He questioned why the Salami-led panel sat for about six months when it was mandated to sit for 45 days.

Shittu also faulted the recommendation of the panel that the headship of the anti-graft commission should come outside the police force.

 

Read the full 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 a 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 the Salami Panel did not say anything on alleged mismanagement of 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, attack 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 specialised economic crimes.

Without preempting President Muhammadu Buhari on his decision over the report, we urge the President to make an informed decision and do the needful on the matter.

We also wish to state with a 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 are 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.

Security Votes

  • 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:

  1. Justice Ayo Isa Salami (rtd), former PCA, North-Central, Chairman
  2. DIG Anthony Ogbizi Michael (NPF)- South-South, Deputy Chairman
  3. Muhammad Abubakar Babadoko- Federal Ministry of Justice (North Central)
  4. Hassan Yahaya Abdulahi (DSS) (North Central)
  5. Muhammad Shamsudeen (OAGF) (North West)
  6. Douglas Egweme (NFIU), (South East)
  7. 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 the main accuser of our client for alleged corrupt enrichment amongst several other allegations.

Regrettably and shockingly in spite of public assurances by Mr Abubakar Malami SAN to appear before the judicial commission of inquiry to testify and notwithstanding the issuance of a 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.

Signed

Wahab Shittu Esq

Next EFCC Chairman Should Come From Outside Police Force – Justice Salami

 

Justice Ayo Salami, the chairman of the panel set up to investigate allegations of corruption against the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu, has recommended that the next head of the anti-corruption agency should come from outside of the Police Force.

He made the recommendations on Friday, after presenting to President Muhammadu Buhari a report by the panel set up to investigate allegations of corruption by the Attorney General and Minister Justice, Abubakar Malami, linked to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the acting chairman, Ibrahim Magu.

According to him, the four previous chairmen of the EFCC since inception were from the police, so an opportunity should be open to persons from other law enforcement or security agencies as provided in the EFCC establishment Act of 2004.

Justice Salami believes this will help the commission better reposition itself for greater effectiveness.

Read Also: I Want Nigeria To Be Counted Among Countries That Don’t Tolerate But Fight Corruption – Buhari

“Four successive chairmen of the EFCC from inception, have been drawn from the police.

“Therefore, in appointing a new chairman of the EFCC, consideration should be given to candidates from other law enforcement or security agencies and core staff of the EFCC as provided in the EFCC establishment Act of 2004,” he said.

“It is also important to point out that there are 970 policemen, 114 drivers and 641 mobile policemen and 215 operators on secondment to the EFCC.

“Therefore, an exit plan for the disengagement and other personnel within two years from now should be considered. This will address the issue of no promotion of core staff for over nine years. For over nine years, some of the core staff are stagnant in one position which is unhealthy and is creating some sort of rivalry between the police and the core staff of the EFCC. Your excellency, our thinking here is that whoever you are appointing, other than a core EFCC staff should be in transitional capacity of two years, during which period arrangement can be made for appointment of the core EFCC staff who had proven themselves commendable”.

President Muhammadu Buhari had inaugurated the panel in July and it was given 45 days to carry out the assignment but the time frame was extended further after the panel requested for more time.

Corruption Allegation: Salami Panel Submits Investigative Report On Magu

 

 

After over three months of investigations into the activities of the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) under its suspended acting chairman, Ibrahim Magu, full reports of the investigation have been submitted to the president.

The panel, headed by a retired justice and president of the appeal court, Ayo Salami, on Friday presented the reports contained in four boxes at the council chambers of the presidential villa.

President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the panel in July and was given 45 days to carry out the assignment but the time frame was extended further after the panel requested for more time.

Read Also: Lagos Judicial Panel Resumes Sitting

It was mandated to probe allegations of corruption and abuse of office leveled against Mr Magu by the Attorney General and Minister Justice, Abubakar Malami.

Reports say the panel chairman had earlier submitted a summary of their findings to the president’s Chief of Staff, Prof Ibrahim Gambari.

No More Police

In his recommendations on Friday, Salami advised that the next head of the anti-corruption agency should come from outside of the Police Force.

According to him, the four previous chairmen of the EFCC since inception were from the police, so an opportunity should be open to persons from other law enforcement or security agencies as provided in the EFCC establishment Act of 2004.

Justice Salami believes this will help the commission better reposition itself for greater effectiveness.

“Four successive chairmen of the EFCC from inception, have been drawn from the police,” he said.

“Therefore, in appointing a new chairman of the EFCC, consideration should be given to candidates from other law enforcement or security agencies and core staff of the EFCC as provided in the EFCC establishment Act of 2004.”

“It is also important to point out that there are 970 policemen, 114 drivers, and 641 mobile policemen, and 215 operators on secondment to the EFCC.

“Therefore, an exit plan for the disengagement and other personnel within two years from now should be considered. This will address the issue of no promotion of core staff for over nine years. For over nine years, some of the core staff are stagnant in one position which is unhealthy and is creating some sort of rivalry between the police and the core staff of the EFCC. Your excellency, our thinking here is that whoever you are appointing, other than a core EFCC staff should be in the transitional capacity of two years, during which period arrangement can be made for the appointment of the core EFCC staff who had proven themselves commendable.”

CCB Summons Suspended EFCC Boss, Magu

Former EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu

 

The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) has summoned the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.

Magu is expected to appear before the bureau on November 17 with documents of all his landed properties.

In a letter dated November 2 and signed by CCB’s Director of Intelligence, Investigation and Monitoring, the bureau directed Magu to produce acknowledgement slips of all the asset declarations he made since he joined public service with all documents of certified true copies.

The other documents the suspended EFCC boss was ordered to make available to the bureau, including copies of his appointment letter, acceptance, records of service and pay slips from January to May 2020, and documents pertaining to both his developed and undeveloped landed properties.

This comes about four months after Magu was suspended from office over the probe of the activities of the anti-graft agency under his watch.

Magu Never Admitted Guilt, Beg Probe Panel For Mercy, Says Lawyer

Former EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu

 

Wahab Shittu, the counsel to the suspended chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, on Tuesday said his client never admitted to the allegations of corruption levelled against him.

In a statement, Shittu dismissed a report that Magu confessed to the panel that he was overzealous as EFCC chairman and begged for mercy, describing it as misleading.

According to the legal practitioner, the ex-EFCC boss did not admit guilt to corruption allegations, neither did he plead for mercy.

“At no time did Magu admit to guilt to the allegations, the subject matter of the inquiry. Indeed the only thing going for Magu is the conviction of his innocence,” Shittu said.

“A member of the panel had cause to inquire from me whether I am convinced that the panel will do justice to my client.

“I responded in the affirmative and I hope my optimism of the justice of the process at the end will not be illusory.”

Shittu said that as Nigerians wait on the Ayo Salami-led panel to do justice in this matter, commentators in the public space should comment based on facts and law.

The lawyer argued that the preoccupation of the inquiry is to reveal the truth without grandstanding, sensationalism, dramatisation or any attempt at coloration of the truth.

The danger is that these orchestrated stories in the public space may have the effect of shifting the real focus from the quest for facts and truth which is the real focus of the inquiry to sensationalism, half truths, propaganda which will neither benefit either Nigerians who are interested in the real facts and truth nor the panel members who have toiled for days to execute the assignment including the subject of inquiry whose proclamation of guilt or innocence will define his future career and his perception in the public space.

Magu is being investigated by a presidential panel over allegations of abuse of office and mismanagement of recovered assets under his watch as acting chairman of the EFCC.

The ex-EFCC boss appeared before the panel last Friday to defend himself.

 

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

Magu’s closing remarks to Salami panel twisted-Wahab Shittu

Our attention has been drawn to a misleading story in a certain online medium with a misleading headline – Magu confesses, Begs: I Was Overzealous as Acting Chair of EFCC, Please Save My Career.

We wish to state that this story was twisted fundamentally out of context by my client’s accusers who want to hit back at my client without justification.

It is true that Magu and my humble self -addressed the panel at the conclusion of his defence while Magu clarified that he threw himself to the job of acting chair because of his passion for the anti-corruption war, a situation that may be alleged overzealousness in some quarters.

He however pleaded for justice and fair-play by the panel members in the context of his overall achievements and his fledging career which hitherto remain unblemished and will terminate in two years’ time.

Counsel to Magu also urged the panel members in the interest of fear of God and loyalty to their conscience to ensure justice in the matter and concluded by thanking them for patience and understanding throughout the proceedings.

At no time did Magu admit to guilt to the allegations, the subject matter of the inquiry. Indeed the only thing going for Magu is his conviction of his innocence.

A member of the panel had cause to inquire from me whether I am convinced that the panel will do justice to my client? I responded in the affirmative and I hope my optimism of the justice of the process at the end will not be illusory.

As Nigerians wait on the Justice Salami- led judicial commission of inquiry to do justice in this matter, we call on commentators in the public space to comment based on facts and law and particularly based on the justice of the case.

The Judicial Commission Inquiry inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari on 3rd July 2020 “……..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” has progressed appreciably with a lot of work and sacrifices by the members and all those connected to the inquiry.

The main preoccupation of the inquiry is to unearth the truth and nothing but the truth with no grandstanding, sensationalism, dramatization, or any attempt at the coloration of the truth. This is the major concern of all Nigerians. On Friday 25th of September 2020 after days of sittings, Mr. Ibrahim Magu the subject of the inquiry rendered all his defence in the proceedings, and ever since that development, a lot of stories have been flying around in the public space. The danger is that these orchestrated stories in the public space may have the effect of shifting the real focus from the quest for facts and truth which is the real focus of the inquiry to sensationalism, half-truths, propaganda which will neither benefit either Nigerians who are interested in the real facts and truth nor the panel members who have toiled for days to execute the assignment including the subject of inquiry whose proclamation of guilt or innocence will define his future career and his perception in the public space.

The above is the compelling need for these interventions as a law officer in the temple of justice who witnessed most of the proceedings from the beginning and actually served as counsel to the subject of inquiry.

In this intervention, I intend to be as fair and objective as possible owing my loyalty to the fear of God and my conscience.

Signed

Bar. Wahab Shittu

Let Whoever Offered Me Bribe, Come Out – Magu

BREAKING: Police Promote EFCC Boss Magu, 17 Others
File photo: Ibrahim Magu

 

The Suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu has told the probe panel investigating him that he’s never received a bribe from anyone in his life.

At the proceedings today, Magu challenged anyone who has ever offered him a bribe which he accepted to “come out publicly to confront him before the Justice Ayo Salami panel”.

Magu said this while responding to allegations that he allowed a suspect Hima Aboubakar, a Nigerien National to escape from justice.

READ ALSO: Fake Army Lieutenant In EFCC Net For Multiple Fraud

On Monday, the suspended EFCC chairman opened his defense to the allegations of ‘Alleged Abuse of Office and Mismanagement of Federal Government Recovered Assets and Finances’ leveled against him.

The probe panel has allowed him to have only two lawyers represent him at a time. On Monday & Tuesday, he was represented by Wahab Shittu and Aliyu Lemu.

In today’s proceedings, he was represented by Shittu and Tosin Ojaomo.

Magu’s Lawyers Ask Presidential Panel To Recall Witnesses In Corruption Probe

BREAKING: Police Promote EFCC Boss Magu, 17 Others
A file photo of the suspended acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu.

 

The suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has asked the Justice Ayo Salami-led investigative presidential panel, to recall the witnesses who testified against him in his absence at the ongoing corruption probe.

In a letter dated September 4 and addressed to the Chairman of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry, through his counsel, Wahab Shittu, Mr Magu said that the request to recall several witnesses was in the interest of fair hearing.

According to the letter, the suspended EFCC boss is the subject matter in the investigation which was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari in July.

Mr Magu is being investigated by the panel over allegations of abuse of office and mismanagement of Federal Government recovered assets from May 2015 to May 2020, among others while he was acting chairman of the EFCC.

READ ALSO: Magu Writes Probe Panel, Asks For AGF To Be Summoned

His lawyers also urged the panel to investigate, verify and review the recommendations of the Presidential Committee on the audit of recovered assets, as it relates to the EFCC and the role the suspended anti-graft agency’s boss allegedly played in the mismanagement of the recovered assets.

They also asked the panel to investigate the abuse of office and non-compliance with official directives alleged committed by Mr Magu.

The lawyers stated that based on the concerns raised, Mr Magu was entitled to participate in the entire proceedings and an opportunity to cross-examine all the witnesses.

Read the full letter below:

4th September 2020.

The Chairman,

Judicial Commission of Inquiry

For The Investigation of Mr Ibrahim MAGU

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

My Lord and Gentlemen,

RECALL OF WITNESSES WHO TESTIFIED IN OUR CLIENT’S ABSENCE  IN THE INTEREST OF FAIR HEARING.

We remain counsel of choice to Mr Ibrahim Magu, the suspended Acting Chairman of the ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL CRIMES COMMISSION (EFCC) hereinafter referred to as “Our Client” and on whose behalf and specific instructions as we write as follows;

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 inquiries, 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”

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 ascertaining 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.
  8. Recommendations

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.

We will also humbly request 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.

 

Wahab Shittu (ESQ)

W.K SHITTU & CO

 

 

P&ID Case: UK Court Verdict, Victory For Magu – Wahab Shittu

Ibrahim Magu, EFCC Chairman, Senate
Suspended Acting EFCC chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu (file photo)

 

Wahab Shittu, the lawyer to the suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu, has described the UK court’s verdict in the case against Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID) as a victory for his client.

In a statement issued over the weekend, Shittu said the court’s decision showed the result of a detailed and thorough investigation done by the EFCC led by Mr Magu.

“It is a monumental landmark achievement occasioned by Magu’s hard work and leadership style.

“The judgment has indeed greatly relieved the country from the impending and disastrous effect that the execution of the $9.6b judgment plus interest, would have had on our fragile economy,” he said.

Shittu further stated that the decision shows that “rather than punish Mr Magu over his handling of the investigation, he should be given a heroic commendation for saving the country in a huge way”.

According to him, Magu should be celebrated rather than being vilified. “It is rather unfortunate that the handling of P&ID investigation forms part of the allegations against him which led to his suspension,” he added.

On January 31, 2017, a tribunal had ruled that Nigeria should pay P&ID $6.6 billion as damages, as well as pre- and post-judgment interest at 7 per cent.

Subsequently, the Federal Government approached the court to establish that the contract was awarded on illegal terms.

Read Also: Nigeria Secures Landmark Victory In Bid To Overturn P&ID Ruling

The country has continued to make moves to overturn the judgement and has gotten court clearance to request documents from a P&ID stakeholder and review bank statements of ex-president Goodluck Jonathan, as well as that of former petroleum ministers, Diezani Alison-Madueke and Rilwanu Lukman.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on August 18, arraigned James Nolan, a Briton, and six companies over their alleged involvement in the contract.

On September 3, Nigeria secured a landmark victory after Ross Cranston, a judge of the Business and Property Courts of England and Wales, granted its application for an extension of time and relief from sanctions.

Read the full statement from Magu’s lawyer below.

P&ID saga: UK court verdict, victory for Magu – Wahab Shittu

Yesterday’s decision of the English court again shows the result of a detailed and thorough investigation done by the EFCC led by Mr. Magu.

It is a monumental landmark achievement occasioned by Magu’s hard work and leadership style. The judgment has indeed greatly relieved the country from the impending and disastrous effect that the execution of the $9.6b judgment plus interest would have had on our fragile economy.

The decision once more shows that rather than punish Mr Magu over his handling of the investigation, he should be given a heroic commendation for saving the country in a huge way. Magu should be celebrated rather than being vilified. It is rather unfortunate that the handling of the P&ID investigation forms part of the allegations against him. Magu which led to his suspension.

There is no gainsaying that the evidence relied on in arriving at the decision came from the EFCC under Mr. Magu. The English Judge was very satisfied with the way and manner the EFCC carried out its investigation when he held at paragraphs 253 and 254 of the judgment: “what occurred might have been the EFCC proceeding at its normal pace in the light of the resources allocated to it, the other inquiries it was conducting and conditions in Nigeria. By comparison, the position after August 2019 might be exceptional and prompted by the serious position Nigeria faced in the light of Butchers J’s decision on the enforcement application.

At this point, it is impossible to say. However, I cannot accept Mr. Mill’s (P&ID’s counsel) submission that there was no proper diligent investigation. The basic point is that there was no specific information such that Nigeria ought to have become aware of the building blocks of fraud now alleged.” Furthermore, the Judge observed in paragraph 251 that ” In my view, Mr Mill underplayed the work which was undertaken over the June 2018- August 2019period. In particular, there was the successful prosecution of P& ID and P& ID Nigeria on 19 September 2019 based on the groundwork undertaken during this fifteen-month period”.

Still underscoring the commendable work by the EFCC, the Judge concluded at page 260 that: ” …the fraud is complex in character and continuing.

Even on my preliminary examination, it comprises a number of quite different strands. What occurred, in this case, was deliberately concealed. Especially with international advisers it engaged, P& ID wore the cloak of legitimacy. In the circumstances which Nigeria has prima facie established it acted reasonably in its investigations…”

The public does not know that while this investigation was ongoing, the investigators and prosecutors including Magu used to close from work at 1am, 2am and resume by 8am including Saturdays and Sundays. Unfortunately, some of these men are currently on suspension without pay or transferred out of EFCC for doing nothing but working assiduously to save this country. They were not given any allegation or issued query.

Contrariwise, the investigation against Mr. Magu and the EFCC would have caused the country to lose the judgment. This is because P&ID used the petition by the AGF against Mr. Magu to strengthen their case with Nigeria. Luckily, we have an upright English Judge who prudently appreciated the excellent and patriotic effort of the EFCC under Magu and the ineffectiveness of the AGF’s complaint.

Magu Probe: Malami Denies Conspiracy To Witch-Hunt Anybody

A file photo of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami.

 

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has denied the allegation of conspiring to witch-hunt anyone.

Malami’s Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr Umar Gwandu, faulted the claim in a statement on Monday.

He was reacting to the comments made by a lawyer, Victor Giwa, who claimed that the minister ordered his arrest because he refused to implicate Ibrahim Magu, the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Giwa made the allegation in a statement on Sunday entitled, ‘Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) Is Using Donald Wokoma, My Erstwhile Client Against Me For My Refusal To Testify And Indict Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman of EFCC, At The Justice Ayo Salami Panel Investigating The EFCC Boss’.

He explained that he was invited by the Justice Ayo Salami led panel, which is investigating the corruption allegations against the suspended EFCC boss, on August 18 and 19.

The lawyer, among many other claims, said he was asked to testify against Magu through an alleged conspiracy between the AGF and Donald Wokoma, a former special adviser to the Vice President whom he said he represented and secured a judgement in his favour.

But Gwandu described the allegation against the minister as ‘flimsy’, stressing that they were untrue.

According to him, Malami never met with Giwa and has never discussed any issue with Wokoma, nor asked anybody, personally or by proxy, to engage Giwa to testify against Magu.

Ibrahim Magu, EFCC Chairman, Senate
A file photo of acting EFCC chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu.

 

The minister’s spokesman insisted that Malami, who did not set up the investigation panel to probe the suspended EFCC boss, was not saddled with any responsibility to procure witnesses for the panel.

“The Attorney-General of the Federation is never a member of the panel nor does it fall within the realm of the AGF’s authority to invite witness(es) for a presidential probe panel.

“The claim by Victor Giwa, Esq is therefore fictitious, unfounded and a figment of the imagination of mischief-makers who want to create unnecessary attention and tarnish the good image of the Attorney-general of the Federation and Minister of Justice and labouring incessantly these days, to falsely cast aspersion on the AGF’s hard-earned reputation,” Gwandu stated.

He, however, challenged Giwa to come and substantiate his allegation with details of when he met with the AGF on the issue, where they met, and how the meeting went.

Gwandu also asked the lawyer to answer whether the minister met him in person or sent a representative, in what capacity was the representative if there was any, and what the terms of their engagement were.

He asked Giwa to reveal what the purported offer to testify against Magu was, how it was made, as well as to name who the witnesses were.