SWITZERLAND, JULY 17 – The Peoples Democratic Party has raised concerns over the integrity of the ongoing probe of the suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu by the Ayo Salami-led Presidential Panel.
The party said its concerns stem from an alleged boast by Magu’s legal counsel, Wahab Shittu, that his client will be cleared of allegations against him and reinstated.
This was contained in a statement titled: “Fraud Allegations: PDP Tasks Presidential Panel over Magu’s Boast of Reinstatement,” signed by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja, on Friday.
The statement read in part, “The boast by suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, that he would be cleared and reinstated despite the allegations against him, is a huge affront on the integrity of the ongoing inquest by the Justice Ayo Salami-led Presidential Investigative Panel on the activities of the EFCC.
“Nigerians were shocked when counsel to suspended EFCC acting Chairman, Wahab Shittu, boastfully declared that he has Magu’s instruction to inform the public that “he will be reinstated back to office”.
Ologbondiyan noted that such an assertive statement by Magu’s lawyer holds more than met the eyes and portrays the Presidential Panel as well as the Buhari Presidency as having compromised the probe.
He said, “Our party hopes that this is not a case of corruption fighting back in a frantic effort to shield accused persons from prosecution.
“Already, the statement by Magu’s counsel has heightened public concerns that the probe has become a sham and that the allegations against Magu will eventually be swept under the carpet despite demands by Nigerians to prosecute the suspended EFCC boss in a court of competent jurisdiction.”
The party wondered if Magu’s counsel was now informing Nigerians that the activities of the Presidential Panel, as well as the indicting memo by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, are all part of an orchestrated drama to facilitate Magu’s clearance at the Senate.
The PDP noted that the details of the allegations by the Attorney General of the Federation against Magu are in the public domain, including alleged discrepancy in the financial records of the EFCC funds, alleged stealing of funds recovered by the commission, alleged sale of property recovered by the EFCC, details of alleged acts of insubordination, among others.
This, the party said, is in addition to issues of alleged violation of rules, abuse of investigation processes, manipulation of court procedures by the EFCC under Magu, which has allegedly become a partisan vehicle for persecution, harassment and extortion against innocent Nigerians.
The PDP equally said, there are also allegations that the EFCC under Magu was more interested in securing conviction and not justice; for which innocent citizens were harassed with trumped-up charges, denied bail, allegedly made to make statement in custody without the services of their lawyers and convicted on media trial even before being allowed to defend themselves in court.
Moreover, there are also insinuations in the public space that the EFCC under Magu was harassing certain judges to get conviction in cases, in addition to the manifest selective persecution in which no member of the current administration, including those who have been openly indicted for corruption, have been prosecuted by the EFCC.
Ologbondiyan said, that the statement by Magu, through his counsel, is therefore, a direct slap on the integrity of our justice system and the fight against corruption in Nigeria.
The party spokesperson further explained that what Nigerians and indeed the global community expect is for the Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari, the African Union, Anti-Corruption Champion, to take immediate steps to arraign the suspended EFCC Chairman before a court of competent jurisdiction to defend and clear his name over the very weighty allegations that have been brought against him.