Magu knows fate next week as Salami panel submits report

The suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, may know his fate next week when the Justice Ayo Salami-led Judicial Commission of Inquiry is expected to submit its report to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The president had on July 3 directed a Judicial Commission of Enquiry under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act (Cap T21, LFN, 2004), to investigate alleged financial impropriety and mismanagement of recovered assets leveled against Magu.

The commission was mandated to conduct a public sitting on the activities of the commission since 2015.

The letter inaugurating the panel, which was signed by Buhari, gave the commission 45 days from its first public sitting to complete its investigation of the suspended EFCC boss.

In a letter titled, “Instrument Constituting a Judicial Commission of Inquiry for the Investigation of Mr. Ibrahim Magu, the Acting Chairman of the EFCC for Alleged Abuse of Office and Mismanagement of Federal Government Recovered Assets and Finances from May 2015 to May 2020.”

The letter listed the seven-member panel to include a former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami (North-central); Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Michael Ogbezi (South-south); a representative of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr. Muhammad Babadoko (North-central); and a representative of the Department of State Services (DSS), Mr. Hassan Abdullahi (North-central).

Others are Mr. Muhammad Shamsudeen from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (North-west), Mr. Douglas Egweme from the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (South-east), and Mr. Kazeem Atitebi (South-west) who serves as the Secretary.

In the letter dated July 3, 2020, Buhari wrote: “I hereby direct the judicial commission to submit its interim reports to me from time to time but the judicial commission shall, in any case, submit its final report not later than 45 days from the date of its first public sitting or within such extended period as may be authorised by me in writing.”

Buhari also directed the panel to audit the accounts of the EFCC from 2015 to 2020, and also investigate allegations of personal enrichment, abuse of office, disobedience to court orders, and the alleged sale of recovered assets to cronies by the suspended EFCC boss.

The president also mandated the Salami-led panel to investigate an alleged complaint against Magu by the National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom, as well as his handling of the controversial P&ID case.

Though the panel is expected to submit is report after 45 days from the date of its first sitting, it was not clear when the panel held its first sitting.

This is because although the president had recommended a public sitting, the commission had been sitting behind closed doors.

But by the July 3 date of Buhari’s letter, the commission is expected to submit its report on or before August 16, 2020.

There were also protests over the decision of the panel to contrary to its terms of reference, sit in private, barring journalists from covering its proceedings.

However, many witnesses had testified against Magu before he was served with the allegations and terms of reference on Saturday, August 8, 2020.

The panel had by yesterday, spent 38 days sitting in private and 37 days before serving Magu a copy of the allegations against him.

A 12-point petition by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, had accused Magu of corruption and mismanagement of recovered assets. – Thisday.

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