Presidential panel: Nigerians won’t accept tutored report on EFCC, Magu
By Samuel Ogunsona
Nigerians are anxious to know the outcome of the report of the Presidential investigative Panel set up by the Federal Government in the wake of the suspension of former Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.
In a statement made available to Irohinoodua on Wednesday, the Human and Environmental Development Agenda, (HEDA Resource Centre) said the global anti-corruption network is worried about information that the report will be manipulated by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN).
HEDA said Nigerians and the international community will not accept any attempt to tutor the report adding that already the manner in which the panel conducted the trail had indicated bias.
Following the removal of Magu, the Nigerian central government set up a probe panel to investigate a string of allegations leveled against Magu whose lawyers did not succeed in inviting the Justice Minister to attend the panel as a star witness.
“We are deeply concerned about the need for a transparent probe by the Presidential Panel set up by the Federal Government. We are worried about reports that the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Malami has set up an in-house committee to write the report. This will be most unjust” HEDA Chairman Olanrewaju Suraju said in the statement. He said his group would wish to see the Justice Minister respond to the report.
HEDA said the entire exercise smacks of an attempt by the Ministry of Justice to even scores with the EFCC. “From the beginning we have expressed worry about the trial. It has taken more than two months, but the report is yet to be released. It should have been a public trial, but the proceedings were manipulated. Malami, who is the chief witness failed to attend the trial where he should have backed up his claims”, Suraju said.
The trial led by Justice Ayo Salami has been challenged by Magu’s lawyers who said several sittings of the panel were conducted in secrecy in the absence of Magu contrary to Section 2 (D) of the Tribunal of Inquiry Act which the President relied on in setting it up. Magu’s lawyer, Wahab Shittu, said contrary to the act establishing the judiciary panel, since inception on July 3, 2020, the panel has conducted many proceedings in private. He said foe witnesses were invited and cross examined in the absence of Magu. HEDA urged the Attorney General to address Nigerians on the allegations that he has constituted an in-house panel to write a report for the Justice Salami-led investigative panel probing Magu, the suspended Acting EFCC