EFCC: Salami panel okays Magu’s presence at proceedings

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THE Presidential Investigation Committee on Friday decided to allow the suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu to be part of its proceedings.

The panel said its position would enable Magu be aware of the testimonies of those appearing before it.

It said it was a fact-finding panel and not a trial one.

Although it promised to release some of the allegations against Magu to him, the panel said sensitive security items would not be made available because such should not be in public domain.

According to findings, the panel debunked allegations that it was unwilling to accept Magu’s defence.

A source said: “To demonstrate its commitment to fair hearing, the panel on Friday said it will henceforth allow Magu to be part of its proceedings to have first hand information on the allegations against him, and hear the testimony of any witness. The panel said it has no predetermined agenda.

“But it took exception to the leakage of its proceedings to the public. There are a lot of misrepresentations which members of the committee did not like.

“Also, the panel said its mandate is fact-finding and not a trial type. It said nobody is on trial before it”

On Magu’s defence, the panel said it “did not refuse to accept evidence from Magu.

“What the panel opted for was for it to entertain all the allegations against Magu and later ask him to respond to each of the issues.

“Members of the panel agreed to give Magu some of the allegations against him and his defence. There is no way the committee will hear from one side. All the members are of proven integrity, they have asked Magu to wait for the witnesses to conclude their presentations before getting his response. Thereafter, he can present all the evidence at his disposal.

“The only worry of the committee is some allegations bordering on the nation’s security, which the panel does not want leaked. Such issues will be raised with Magu without releasing the sensitive documents to him because they ought not to be in public domain. “

Magu’s counsel, Wahab Shittu in a letter to the panel, pledged that the suspended acting EFCC chairman would cooperate with the panel.

According to Shittu, Magu has not at any time challenged the mandate of the panel or engaged in any boast or queried the panel.

The letter, which was submitted yesterday, reads in part:”We state for the records that we are not in a position to query the honourable panel and certainly will never set out doing so.

“Rather, our intention was to draw the attention of the honourable panel to persistent falsehood publications concerning our client being orchestrated consistently in the public space in a manner that could prejudice the proceedings of this honourable panel.

“We apologize if any contrary interpretation of our intention is conveyed by the context in which the questions were raised in the referred letter. We hold the panel in the highest esteem.”

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