Magu Writes Salami Panel, Makes Seven Demands [THE NATION]
Lawyer to the suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, on Friday pleaded with the Presidential Investigation Committee to grant him bail.
He said Magu needed the bail because the print and electronic media had taken undue advantage of his detention to launch a campaign of calumny against him.
He made six other demands including making the terms of reference of the committee available to Magu and giving him opportunity to know the allegations against him.
He said witnesses were being called and examined by the committee behind Magu’s back and at the same time disallowing him and his counsel from participating in the proceedings involving such witnesses.
Magu’s counsel, Mr. Wahab Shittu made the demands in a July 10, 2020 letter of plea to the panel.
He said: “We act as counsel of choice to Mr. Ibrahim Mustapha Magu, the Ag. Chairman of the EFCC hereinafter referred to as “our Client” and on whose behalf and specific instructions we write as follows:
“Our client has briefed and drawn our attention to the letter dated 6th of July, 2020 ref No. PIC/AR/VOL.1/01 wherein he was informed as follows:
“The above-mentioned panel is investigating above listed offences in which you feature prominently, and the need to obtain clarification from you has become necessary.
“You are therefore directed to with immediate effect accompany the Assistant Commissioner of Police ACP Gabriel Elaigwu and team to report to the Chairman and members of the Committee today 6th July 2020.
“Ensure compliance and receipt of my warmest regards please.”
Counsel said that Magu, on receiving the said letter “followed the ACP Gabriel Elaigwu and team to the Banquet Hall, State House Abuja and has since then been in custody and appearing before your esteemed Committee.”
Shittu said since his appearance before the panel, he had not been served petitions against him.
He added:” Mr. Chairman, since the 6th of July, 2020 when our Client honored your invitation, he has been consistently applying to the Committee to be given the petitions containing the allegations of Conspiracy, Corrupt Enrichment, Abuse of Office/Power which request has not been honored or obliged till date.
“Our client has also informed us that he remains unaware of the terms of reference of this distinguished Committee.
“Sir, our client has also drawn our attention to the following:
” That he has been in detention and kept at the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) of the Nigerian Police Force, Area 10 Abuja since the 6th of July till date without being informed of the allegations leveled against him and the deserved opportunity to timeously study and respond to same.
“That witnesses are called and examined by the committee behind his back and without allowing him and Counsel of his choice to participate in the proceedings involving these witnesses.”
He said Magu was being maligned in the media including alleged keeping of secret accounts, acquisition of properties in Dubai and giving N4billion to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
He added: “That both print and electronic media have taken undue advantage of the detention of our client to launch a campaign of calumny against him spreading in the process consistently highly prejudicial, damaging and untrue allegations on a daily basis.
“These unfounded allegations which never featured in the proceedings of the committee thus far include the allegation that our client gave the Vice President, Pro. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, the sum of N4billion and that our client maintains secret accounts, procured cronies to front for him and that he acquired properties in Dubai.
“These campaigns of calumny have greatly affected the moral of our client and damaged his hard-earned reputation and that of the Commission. That our Client as a result of this campaign of calumny has been paraded like a common criminal and subjected to all manner of insults and embarrassment just for serving his nation diligently and efficiently as the arrowhead of the anti-corruption agenda of this Administration. “This unfortunate development happening before the determination of the petitions by Honourable Committee with prejudicial consequences.”
The counsel made seven demands from Salami panel.
He said: “In view of our observations above, may we humbly request from your Lordship, the Chairman of the Committee and other distinguished members:
- i) That our client will appreciate if afforded the privilege of the terms of reference of this distinguished Committee.
- ii) That the petitions containing the allegations be given to our client to afford him the opportunity of knowing the allegations against him, study same and prepare a robust defence.
iii) That our client will appreciate the intervention of the Committee in ordering the release of our client from custody to enable him defend himself adequately and attend to his deteriorating health in custody.
- iv) That our client be given adequate time to respond to the allegations against him including providing necessary materials and evidence before this Honourable Committee.
- v) That our client be afforded the opportunity to confront the petitioners with his own defence.
- vi) That witnesses be examined in his presence and that of his counsel.
vii) That our client be guaranteed his right to fair hearing including his right to liberty in the course of the proceedings of this distinguished Committee.
“My Lord, the Chairman of the Committee and Honourable Members, our client will appreciate your taking timeous steps in addressing the fundamental concerns of our client raised in this letter.
“Whilst awaiting your urgent intervention on the issues raised herein please be assured my lord of our best wishes and professional regards.”
Reps Reject Minister’s Cancellation Of WASSCE [THE NATION]
The House of Representatives on Friday disagreed with the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, on the cancellation of the West African Senior Secondary School Examinations, insisting that action was aimed at truncating the future of Nigerian children.
Chairman of the House Committee on Basic Education, Prof Julius Ihonbvare, who made the position of the House known in a statement in Abuja said the announcement by the minister was done without due consultation with relevant stakeholders in the education sector.
He said the Education Minister did not inform the country if his decision was in agreement with other West African leaders or in consultation with the examination bodies, the state governments and other stakeholders in the education sector.
He said: “The minister also did not also inform the public, if the decision was the outcome of a meeting with all state governments that are in charge of all, but the unity secondary schools that are owned by the federal government.
“The Minister of State, in his usually consultative and participatory approach, had briefed the nation at the Covid 19 Presidential Committee briefing over the airwaves and in an appearance before the House Committee on Basic Education where he assured Nigerians that all steps had or were being taken to ensure full compliance with all Covid 19 protocols.
Why We Revised N10.8tr 2020 Budget — Buhari [THE NATION]
President Muhmmadu Buhari has cited the need to cushion the harsh socio-economic realities occasioned by the outbreak of coronavirus, as well as meeting the health challenges posed by the situation, as reasons for reviewing the 2020 Budget.
President Buhari explained his reasons for proposing the Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, 2020, at the State House yesterday during the signing of the new budget which was passed by the National Assembly in June.
He, however, revealed that ministries, departments and agencies would be given 50 per cent of their capital allocations by the end of the month.
The N10.81 trillion Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, 2020, was N216 billion above the original 2020 Budget of N10.59 trillion.
The signing was witnessed by the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN); Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha; and the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari.
Also present at the brief ceremony were the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan; and Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila.
Others were the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed; Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba; Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emiefile; Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Dr Ben Akabueze; Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Babajide Omoworare; and his counterpart for the House of Representatives, Hon. Umar el-Yakub.
While thanking the National Assembly for the prompt review and passage of the amendments to the 2020 Appropriation Act, President Buhari recalled that he signed the 2020 Appropriation Act into law on Tuesday, December 17, 2019.
PMB Appoints Mohammed Umar Acting EFCC Chairman [LEADERSHIP]
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of Mohammed Umar as acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
This is just as the president has approved the suspension of Ibrahim Magu as acting chairman of the anti-graft agency.
This was contained in a statement by Dr Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, the special assistant on media and public relations to the attorney-general of the Federation (AGF) and minister of Justice.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has also approved that the EFCC director of operations, Mohammed Umar, should take charge and oversee the activities of the commission pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation and further directives in that regards,” the statement noted.
In the statement made available to LEADERSHIP Weekend, the AGF, Abubakar Malami, said Magu was placed on suspension in order to allow for unhindered inquiry by the presidential investigation panel under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act and other relevant laws.
Meanwhile, the embattled former chairman of EFCC, Magu, has written to the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, asking to be released on bail.
His counsel, Mr Oluwatosin Ojaomo, asked the police authorities to grant his client bail, having been detained beyond the constitutionally stipulated period.
In the letter, Magu’s lawyer asked the police boss to grant his client bail on ”self-recognisance”.
Magu who is being probed by the Justice Ayo Salami – led presidential panel sitting inside the old banquet hall of the presidential villa has remained in police detention at the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID), Abuja right from the first day of the interrogation.
He is facing 21 corruption allegations from the attorney general of
the federation (AGF) and minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.
The panel had on Thursday summoned the directors from the commission to give insight on some of the allegations against the embattled chairman.
Over three weeks, the panel has been sitting and scrutinising the
corruption allegations against the suspended acting chairman.
Military Airstrike Neutralises 8 Bandit Leaders, Fighters In Zamfara [LEADERSHIP]
The Air ComponentO Operation Hadarin Daji, has neutralised eight armed
bandit leaders and many fighters in the Zamfara State section of the Kagara Forest.
The coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, said the airstrikes were executed
on July 9, 2020, sequel to Human Intelligence (HUMINT) reports indicating
that some armed bandits had
relocated with a large number
of rustled livestock from the Sokoto State side of the Forest, and set up a camp in
the Zamfara State portion of
He said the Intelligence, Surveillance and
Reconnaissance (ISR) missions also confirmed the exact location of the camp.
“Accordingly, the Air Component dispatched Nigerian Air Force (NAF)
fighter jets and helicopter gunships to engage the location.
“As the attacked aircraft approached the camp, some of the bandits and their leaders were seen fleeing towards the
“Consequently, the attacked aircraft struck the area of vegetation, taking out several of the bandits,” he said.
The coordinator added: “HUMINT sources later confirmed that 8 bandit
leaders and no fewer than a dozen of their fighters were killed as a result of the strikes.”
In a related development, troops of Operation Accord rescued three kidnapped victims from bandits in
Chikun LGA of Kaduna State.
The coordinator said the troops, acting on credible intelligence on the kidnap
of some people by armed bandits from their farm in Gwazunu village, Chikun LGA of Kaduna State, promptly
deployed to the scene and engaged the bandits with effective firepower.
How Malami, Magu Clashed Over Sale Of Seized Assets [PUNCH]
Fresh facts have emerged on the alleged sale of forfeited assets by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission which pitted the two government institutions against each other.
Investigations by one of our correspondents revealed that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), and the suspended EFCC Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, at different times gave separate authorisations for the sale of seized assets.
Rather than harmonise the disposal of assets forfeited by alleged looters and other individuals arraigned on charges of financial and cyber crimes, findings indicated that their respective offices had separately invited auctioneers to bid for the sale of luxury homes, cars, trucks, sea vessels, crude oil and other valuables running into billions of naira.
The Ministry of Justice and the EFCC had placed several auction notices in the Federal Tenders Journal and other media inviting the public for auction sales of some seized assets.
In February 2018, for instance, the ministry placed an advertisement inviting auctioneers, marine engineers, valuers and consultants for valuation and disposal of vessels, ships, boats, trucks, vehicles and petroleum products. The notice was placed on a subscription-based online portal, https//:234business.com.
The ministry hinged the move on the decision of the Federal Government to “clear its territorial waters, ports, dockyards, agency offices/stations and highways of obsolete and unauthorised vessels, barges, boats, ships, trucks, vehicles and the cargo in furtherance of National Security of the Federation and recovery of its assets policy.”
On December 19, 2019, the anti-graft agency auctioned 244 trailers and tankers forfeited to the Federal Government by illegal oil dealers. Eleven auctioneers participated in the bid.
The exercise was inaugurated by the commission secretary, Mr Ola Olukoyede, together with a team of senior officers at the EFCC zonal office in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The agency issued a press statement on the exercise. A copy of the notice was also published on its website.
In November 2019, Magu also announced that his agency would contract international auction houses to sell the jewellery reportedly worth $40m recovered from ex-petroleum minister, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, together with seizures made from Internet fraudsters, having secured a forfeiture order from the Federal High Court on September 10.
Magu stated this during a conference at the Lagos office of the commission, where he briefed the stakeholders on the crusade against cybercrime and fraudsters.
The jewellery includes 419 bangles, 315 rings, 304 earrings, 267 necklaces, 189 wristwatches, 174 earrings, 78 bracelets, 77 brooches and 74 pendants; as well as luxury houses in Nigeria, United States and in the United Kingdom.
Sources said the refusal of Magu to involve the AGF in the disposal of the forfeited assets largely informed the rift between them, which led Malami to write a memo to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), in which he reportedly levelled 22 allegations against the embattled EFCC boss, who is a commissioner of police.
Following the development, the President set up a fact-finding panel headed by a retired President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, and six other members, including DIG Mike Ogbizi, Hassan Abdullahi (representing the Department of State Services), Douglas Ekwueme (Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit), Mallam Shamsudeen (OAGF), Mohammed Abubakar (Ministry of Justice) and Kazeem Atilebi (civil society groups).
Magu has been held in police custody since Monday and currently undergoing interrogations over what was said to include the unapproved sale of recovered assets.
The embattled EFCC boss was said to have been accosted on Monday by operatives of the Department of State Services in front of the old EFCC headquarters on Fomella Street, Wuse 2, Abuja, around 12pm and whisked to the venue of the panel sitting.
The panel’s investigation is holding behind closed doors in one of the conference rooms in the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Meanwhile, documents obtained by Saturday PUNCH on Friday indicated that the AGF last year granted approval to some operators in the oil industry to sell five sea vessels holding crude oil and diesel forfeited to the Federal Government.
The vessels valued at millions of naira and laden with tonnes of crude oil and diesel were seized by security agencies from illegal oil bunkering operators during different operations.
In separate documents, the AGF directed Omoh-Jay Nigeria Ltd. to dispose of the crude oil and diesel in four sea vessels through an open bid.
In another approval, the AGF mandated the firm to sell five vessels despite the fact that the firm and its Managing Director, Mr Jerome Itepu, stood trial at the Delta State High Court, Asaba, for allegedly stealing about 12,000 metric tonnes of crude oil loaded in a vessel, MT Akuada a.k.a. MT Kua, valued at N384m in 2009. The auctioneer was to get three per cent of the sale.
The EFCC had in 2015 arraigned four persons on charges of conspiracy, stealing and receiving stolen goods.
The accused included a businessman and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress in Edo Central Senatorial District, Chief Francis Inegbeneki; Chief Executive Officer of Omoh-Jay Nigeria Ltd., Mr Jerome Itepu; Omoh-Jay Nigeria Ltd. and Ine Oil Ltd. owned by Inegbeneki.
The suit, numbered A/EFCC/1c/2015, was filed on March 24, 2015 by A.J. Arogha, Esq. and U.R. Ewoh, Esq. on behalf of the EFCC.
Ondo Poll: 11 Aspirants Team Up Against Akeredolu, Reject Indirect Primary [PUNCH]
Eleven of 12 aspirants of the All Progressives Congress in Ondo State have kicked against the indirect mode of primary adopted by the Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee of the party ahead of the governorship election in the state, stated for October 10.
The only aspirant who is favourably disposed to the indirect mode is the incumbent Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu.
The 11 aspirants rejected the idea barely 24 hours after the Independent National Electoral Commission published details of the mode of primary chosen by the APC on its website.
Their decision was contained in a letter dated July 8 and titled, ‘Why indirect primary cannot be an option for the Ondo State governorship primary election.’
The letter, signed by the 11 aspirants, was addressed to Buni and made public in Abuja, on Friday.
Those who signed the letter are Joseph Iji, Odimayo Okunjimi, Olayide Adelami, Isaac Kekemeke, Olusola Oke, lfeoluwa Oyedele and Olajumoke Anifowoshe.
Others are Awodeyi Colinus, Olubukola Adetula, Dr Olusegun Abraham, and Dr Nathaniel Adojutelegan.
Prior to its dissolution, the National Working Committee of the APC, led by an ex-chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, had written a letter to INEC signifying its choice of the indirect primary mode for Ondo State.
On assumption of office, it was gathered that the Buni-led APC caretaker committee adopted this position.
Under the indirect mode, delegates, most of whom are party leaders, elected legislators and government appointees who are party members, are the ones to chose the party’s candidate.
On the other hand, in the direct mode, all card-carrying party members across all the electoral wards of the state will be the ones to decide the governorship candidate.
However, 11 aspirants said having interfaced with party members across the state, “We can confidently inform you that the overwhelming majority of our party members prefer the direct primary for the nomination of the party’s candidate for the 2020 governorship election.”