Magu’ll be cleared of allegations, reinstated, says counsel
The suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, on Thursday expressed confidence that he would be reinstated to office.
Magu, who was suspended last week by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), over corruption allegations leveled against him at the ongoing proceedings of the Justice Ayo Salami-led presidential investigative panel, said the charges leveled against him were trumped up.
He spoke to our correspondent through his lawyer, Mr Wahab Shittu, who said he had his instruction to give an update on the probe to Nigerians.
Shittu said, “I have the instruction of Mr Magu to tell Nigerians that he is not against the ongoing probe.
“Mr Magu asked me to tell Nigerians that he is not against the probe. The allegations against him are trumped up. He strongly believes that his name will be cleared and he will be reinstated back to office.”
Meanwhile, Shittu on behalf of Magu sent a letter to the panel denying a series of allegations reported in the media.
Specifically, he denied giving N4bn to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, and giving N28m to Mr Femi Falana (SAN).
Both Osinbajo and Falana had separately denied the allegations.
The letter titled, ‘Publications prejudicial to the proceedings of this honourable panel,’ was sent to the panel on Thursday.
Shittu stated that the “serial falsehood publications in the media” in respect of matters “never featured in the proceedings of this honourable panel.”
He said, “The charges against our client are trumped-up allegations designed to tarnish his image and rubbish the credibility and image of the EFCC which has been stellar and outstanding under our client’s watch.
“Based on the above circumstances, our client was not given adequate time and facilities for his defence and his demand for a copy of the allegations against him has not been honoured till date.
“We appeal to the honourable panel to consider the above and uphold the fundamental rights to fair hearing of our client.”
On the allegation of giving N4bn to Osinbajo, the letter read, “Our client strongly denies this falsehood against the respected Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Our client has never given the sum of N4bn or any sum at all to Prof. Yemi Osinbajo SAN, GCON, Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as wrongly reported.”
He also described the allegation of giving N28m to Falana as “complete fabrication”.
He stated, “Our client never gave N28m or any amount to Mr Femi Falana SAN as maliciously reported.
“Our client also denies any link with a Kaduna-based bureau de change operator as alleged.”
Shittu said Magu “confirms that his house was searched last Monday in his absence while in custody, but no incriminating evidence was found. It is untrue as reported that some dollars and expensive jewellery and wristwatches were found. Our client states that the search into his house did not reveal any incriminating evidence or materials. The cars removed from his residence were official vehicles assigned to our client as acting chairman of the EFCC.”
The letter also stated that Magu had not been confronted with alleged illegal foreign exchange transactions and that “no such report was tendered by NFIU in any proceedings before this panel involving him till date.”
It added, “Our client states categorically that the maximum forex transactions he has been involved in is the sum of $10,000 till date.
“Our client also wishes to place on record that he has no link with a Kaduna-based bureau de change operator as erroneously reported in the publication.”
On the alleged N573m Dubai property, his lawyer said the allegation “is outright falsehood and is denied by our client in unmistakable terms”.
The letter also denied the allegation of diversion of interest on recovered assets.
It stated, “Our client states that all recovered funds are lodged in the TSA Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party has urged the Federal Government to immediately charge Magu to court.
In a statement titled, ‘Fraud Allegations: PDP Demands Magu’s Immediate Arraignment in Court …Rejects Pat on Wrist Approach,’ signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Thursday, the PDP said the delay in arraigning Magu was raising concerns about the anti-graft war.
The PDP said, “The delay is heightening suspicion in the public space over alleged attempt to give Magu a soft landing in order to cover up for certain top officials of the Buhari administration as well as some leaders of the All Progressives Congress alleged to have been indicted by the suspended EFCC chairman.
“The expectation of Nigerians therefore is for the Federal Government to immediately arraign Magu before a court of competent jurisdiction and prosecute him in line with the dictates of our laws.”