Magu Probe: Why I Didn’t Testify Before Salami Panel – Malami

Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, Nigeria's Attorney-General and Minister of Justice.

BEVERLY HILLS, September 24, (THEWILL) – The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has said his non-appearance at Justice Ayo Salami Panel of Inquiry probing the suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu is based on constitutional consideration.

In a statement issued by the Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Umar Jibrilu Gwandu said the appearance or otherwise of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami to serve as a witness in any investigation should be a constitutional matter.

Malami said that as an AGF, his appearance or otherwise as a witness in any investigation should be a constitutional matter.

The statement reads in part: “In establishing propriety or otherwise of the presence of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice whose responsibility is to hold constitutional order one must root the same within the constitutional provisions. The terms and wordings of invitation extended to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to Justice Ayo Panel of inquiry against Magu runs contrary to the Constitutional provisions. The Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice is by the provision of the Constitution and extant laws empowered to serve supervisory roles. In the case of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice has been discharging the role effectively.”

Recall that the suspended EFCC boss, Ibraheem Magu had through his lawyer, Mr. Wahab Shittu applied for Malami to be compelled to appear before the Salami panel to give evidence and tender a copy of the memo to President Muhammadu Buhari that led to his suspension as EFCC Chairman. In the application dated September 4, Magu, requested for Subpoena Duces Tecum and Subpoena Ad Testificandum to be issued on Malami who he described as his “main accuser.”

Magu specifically applied for Malami to appear before the panel to substantiate his allegations that: “The Acting Chairman of EFCC is not acting in the overall best interest of the country and the policies of this administration due to its Mismanagement and Lack of Transparency in Managing Recovered Assets; Diversion of Recovered Assets for Personal Enrichment; Neglecting to Investigate the P&ID case as directed by the President; flagrant Disobedience to Directives and to Court Orders due to the following; Final Report Of The Presidential Committee on Audit Of Recovered Assets (PCARA): Mismanagement and Lack of Transparency in Managing Recovered Assets”. He relied on Section 5(c) of the Tribunals of Inquiry Act 2004, which he said empowered the tribunal to summon any person in Nigeria to attend and give evidence or produce any document or other thing in his possession and to be examined as a witness.

Consequently, in line with Magu’s application, the Justice Salami-led panel signed and issued a Subpoena to the AGF to appear and give evidence before it.

The Subpoena read, “You are hereby commanded in the name of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to appear before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry to give evidence in respect of your allegations against Mr Ibrahim Magu.”

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Giving reasons why he declined the invitation, Malami said “the terms and wordings of the invitation runs contrary to Constitutional provisions. The Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice is by the provision of the Constitution and extant laws empowered to serve supervisory roles. In the case of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice has been discharging the role effectively.”