November 29, 2020

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Magu: Buhari receives Salami panel report

3 min read

President Muhammadu Buhari has received the report of the Ayo Salami-led presidential panel set up to investigate the suspended acting chairperson of the anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.

This was disclosed on Friday in a Twitter post on the Presidency verified account @NGRpresident.

“President @MBuhari receiving the report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry on the Investigation of Mr. Ibrahim Magu, the Acting Chairman, @officialEFCC. Justice Ayo Salami, Chair of the Judicial Commission, presenting the Report. #AsoVillaToday,” the post said.

Sources at the presidency informed this newspaper that the panel arrived at the Aso Villa at about 11 a.m. to submit the report.

PREMIUM TIMES had on Monday exclusively reported that the presidential panel probing Mr Magu would submit its findings to President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday.

Garba Shehu, the senior special assistant, Media and Publicity, to the president had also confirmed the development to this newspaper.

The panel headed by Mr Salami, a former President of the Appeal Court was supposed to have sent in its report in August – but it asked for more time to conclude its assignment.

This was after it failed to meet the presidential directive to submit its interim reports not later than 45 days starting “from its first public sitting.”

Mr. Magu was investigated over allegations of graft and insubordination levelled against him by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.

Mr Malami, whose complaint led to the suspension of Mr Magu in July after five years as acting EFCC chairperson, had declined to appear before the panel to defend his allegations.

He had in a series of letters to the president accused Mr Magu of diverting billions of naira of recovered funds, as well as failing to act timeously on a presidential directive to investigate the controversial $9.6 billion P&ID British firm that secured a gas contract in Nigeria.

Mr Magu was also accused of purchasing a property in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates through a Nigerian cleric, Emmanuel Omale.

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Based on the allegations, Mr Buhari in July approved the establishment of a Judicial Commission of Enquiry under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act (Cap T21, LFN, 2004), for the investigation of the activities of the EFCC from May 2015 to May 2020.

READ ALSO: Code of Conduct Bureau summons Magu

Mr Magu has, however, denied all the allegations of corruption and insubordination.

His lawyer, Wahab Shittu, had also written several letters to the panel, accusing the panel of preventing his client from calling a witness and subpoenaing certain individuals for his defence.

The lawyer also asked the panel to provide his client with adequate time and facility ahead of his defence, as well as access to all exhibits tendered in the proceeding which, according to the lawyer, the panel repeatedly ignored.

Civil rights organisations and activists had demanded that the sittings of the panel be made public for the sake of transparency and fairness.

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