PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has been asked to sack former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) acting chairman Ibrahim Magu by the commission of inquiry he set up to investigate his activities according to some sources close to the case.
Last month, Mr Magu was arrested by men of the Department of State Security in Abuja and was held for questioning by a presidential panel set up to investigate him. President Buhari has since suspended him from office and over recent weeks, all sorts of stories have been circulating about impropriety associated with Mr Magu.
To investigate the allegations against Mr Magu, a judicial commission of inquiry led by Justice Ayo Salami was set up and this panel has now submitted its interim report in which it is recommending Mr Magu’s sacking. Although the panel is still probing Mr Magu, testimonies and documents from witnesses so far were enough to make it recommend the removal of the suspended EFCC boss.
One police source said: “The Salami panel has been sending interim reports to the president. Its latest report, however, recommends Magu’s sacking from the EFCC and possible prosecution.”
When asked why the report was sent when Mr Magu had not yet opened his defence, the police officer said the former EFCC boss has been part of the process as he has been attending sittings and was even been given the opportunity of cross-examining some witnesses.
However, Mr Magu’s lawyer, Wahab Shittu, said Justice Salami had informed him that no such report had been submitted to the president. He added that Mr Magu had yet to open his defence and that it would be unjust for the panel to recommend his sacking.
Mr Shittu said: “I don’t understand why we should be talking about a reaction to something that is blatantly falsehood. First, the panel is still calling witnesses, so, if there were ongoing proceedings on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and the panel has adjourned till Monday, if witnesses are still being taken and interrogated and documents are still being submitted, what that should suggest to you is that proceedings are ongoing and have not been concluded.
“Does it then make sense for a report to be submitted? Ibrahim Magu, my client, has not opened his defence and the panel has repeatedly indicated that he would be allowed to defend himself only after witnesses have been exhausted, so, somebody who has yet to defend allegations against him, can he be indicted?”
“Whether interim or final, you cannot issue the report without listening to all the witnesses and then take the defence. My reaction is that the story is planted by mischief makers as a similar falsehood was published by a newspaper and I confronted the panel yesterday and the chairman said how could they have issued such a report when they haven’t formally served him with the allegations and he told me to disregard the report.”