Some among anti-corruption watchers in Nigeria, including lawyers, NGOs, and presidential advisers, are already targeting Justice Ayo Salami as they vent their frustration with the on-going investigation of the suspended boss of the EFCC Ibrahim Magu.
Wahab Shittu, the lawyer to Magu, has again written to the Salami-led Judicial Commission of Inquiry, and he is highly critical of the integrity of the panel leadership.
Shittu’s letter was coming after the chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof Itse Saga,y picked holes in the membership of the panel, and distanced himself from the Aso Rock politics.
According to Sagay, most of the Salami panel members are drawn from agencies that Magu was prosecuting.
A coalition of anti-corruption NGOs has also petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari to cover AGF Abubakar Malami in the panel probe. Malami, swimming in a cesspool of corruption allegation, is believed to have pocketed the panel.
But the panel has turned a deaf ear, focusing on Magu alone.
And Shittu has described this and other loopholes Salami ignores as illegalities and violation of Magu’s right to fair hearing.
Below is the summary
“In summary, we have concerns regarding the legality of the honourable tribunal in the areas highlighted above such as:
“The tribunal has consistently sat in private (camera) and not in public of the applicable law;
“The tribunal has held proceedings and invited and entertained witnesses to the exclusion of our client and his counsel in violation of the applicable law on rules of fair hearing.
“The tribunal has sat and conducted proceedings in the absence of our client in violation of the applicable law and rules of fair hearing.
“The detention of Mr. Magu and subsequent denial of Mr. Magu’s detention by both your panel and the police.
“The suspension of twelve officials (investigators and prosecutors) of the EFCC without query, interrogation, or any other expected standard treatment for such an action.
“The appearance of several conflicting reportage in the media without any official statement from your committee;
“Failure to allow Mr. Magu’s counsel to cross-examine our client’s accusers and witnesses.
“Failure of the committee to reveal its mandate, terms of reference and timeline until August 8, 2020(35 days after the panel was expected to have commenced public sitting by virtue of the instrument of mandate. It is also unclear whether proceedings of the panel before the date of the issuance of the instrument of mandate will be deemed to be part of the forty-five days timeline prescribed in the instrument of mandate or proceedings will be deemed to commence when our client was served the instrument of mandate on 8th August 2020.”