Bribery: Magu begins defence, dares accusers, as Malami shuns Salami’s order



Suspended Chairman of the  Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, has begun his defence at the Justice Ayo Salami Panel.

On Thursday evening,  it was revealed, that  Magu in his defence told the Salami panel that he has never received any bribe from anyone in his life. Wahab Shittu, the suspended EFCC chairman’s counsel, disclosed this in a statement released after Thursday’s proceedings before the panel

Magu said this when defending himself against allegations that he allowed a suspect Hima Aboubakar, a Nigerien National to escape from justice.

“Let whoever has ever offered me  bribe and I accepted come out,” Magu was quoted to have told Salami’s panel.

Sources said he opened  his defence on Monday.Since then, eighty percent of  the suspended EFCC boss’ defence has been turned in.

Malami fails to appear before Salami’s panel

Meanwhile,  Mr Abubakar Malami SAN, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation has failed  to appear before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry headed by the retired president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami despite a subpoena issued to him by the Chairman of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate the allegations he leveled against the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr Ibrahim Magu.

It could be recalled that  Magu had consistently requested the opportunity to confront his accuser before the Panel including an opportunity to be given the allegations leveled against him by the Attorney General of the Federation.However,  Mr Malami failed to appear before the Commission of Inquiry to substantiate the allegations he leveled against  Magu in the memo he forwarded  to President Muhammadu Buhari which was the basis upon which the Judicial Commission of Inquiry was set up by the President.

It was learnt that upon  conclusion of presentation of witnesses before the Commission of Inquiry,  Magu was called upon to present his defence which he has done by presenting a volumes of written responses to all the allegations against him backed by numerous exhibits and truck load of documents showing his achievements as the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and official documents showing that no recovered assets was missing or diverted to personal use for his benefit or those of his close associates

Magu had also requested before the Tribunal to issue subpoenas to certain persons to appear before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry to give evidence in support of their allegations and to be cross-examined upon such  allegedly wild and unsubstantiated allegations.

In line with Mr Magu’s request, Justice Ayo Salami who is the Chairman of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry signed and issued a Subpoena to the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami SAN to appear before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry at the instance of Magu to come and substantiate the allegations he made against him.

In the said Subpoena, it was stated as follows; “You are hereby Commanded in the name of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to appear before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry to give evidence in respect of your allegations against Mr Ibrahim Magu”.

But instead of appearing before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry, Mr Malami , it was learnt, wrote a letter  stating that he would not appear as a witness. He hinged his refusal on the fact that he only made charges against Mr Magu based on the petitions he received against him in his office.

A few weeks ago, Malami had taken to the media boasting to the whole world that he would appear before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry if summoned to do so.

Malami defends non appearance

In a related development, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN has said that his non-appearance at Justice Ayo Salami Panel of Inquiry probing the suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, was purely Constitutional and not based on any ulterior motive.
This is contained in a statement issued by Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice which was made available to newsmen on Thursday the 24th day of September, 2020.

According to the statement the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice said the appearance or otherwise of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN to serve as a witness in any investigation should be a constitutional matter.

In establishing propriety or otherwise of the presence of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice whose responsibility is to hold constitutional order one must root same within the constitutional provisions, the statement said.

“The terms and wordings of invitation extended to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to Justice Ayo Panel of inquiry against Magu runs contrary to the Constitutional provisions.(sic), the statement further said.

“The Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice is by the provision of the Constitution and extant laws empowered to serve supervisory role. In the case of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice has been discharging the role effectively,” the statement said.