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Politics

Magu reacts as Salami panel recommends Sack, Prosecution

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The suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, has kicked against the recommendation of his sacking by the Judicial Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice Ayo Salami (retd).

POLITICS NIGERIA learned that the presidential panel, in its interim report submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, also recommended that Magu should be prosecuted over allegations of corruption and abuse of office. The panel also recommended the immediate appointment of a new chairman for the anti-graft agency.

But in a swift reaction, Wahab Shittu, counsel to Mr Magu, denied knowledge of any report, adding that no such interim report was sent to the President.

He noted that Justice Salami had informed him that before any report is submitted to the President, his client will be carried along. Shittu added that Magu had yet to open his defence and given a fair hearing and it would be unjust for the panel to recommend his sacking.

He 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. Two witnesses appeared before the panel today. 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?”

He added, “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. A similar falsehood was published by a newspaper and I confronted the panel yesterday (Thursday) 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.”

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