Malami backtracks, refuses to appear before Salami panel over Magu

By our reporter| Despite boasting on a television live programme that he would gladly honour an invitation by the presidential panel investigating allegations of corruption against former EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu, the minister of justice and attorney general of the federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, failed to appear before Justice Ayo Salami-led Judicial Commission of Inquiry on Thursday.

The retired president of the Court of Appeal had issued a subpoena to Malami to appear before the Commission of Inquiry to substantiate the allegations he levelled against the suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu, in the memo he wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari which was the basis upon which the Judicial Commission of Inquiry was set up by the President.

This followed Magu’s insistence on being given an opportunity to confront his accuser before the Panel, including the Attorney General of the Federation.

The Subpoena had read as follows: “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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Why I did not appear before the panelMalami

But in a letter to the panel on Thursday, Malami said he would not appear as a witness because his charges against Magu was based on the petitions he received against him.

The AGF further explained to the panel he decided not to honour their invitation on constitutional consideration as the wordings of the invitation extended to him were unconstitutional and that he had no ulterior motive not honouring the invitation.

“Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN has said that his non-appearance at Justice Ayo Salami Panel of Inquiry probing the suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, was purely Constitutional and not based on any ulterior motive,” the statement read.

According to the statement, inviting the AGF “to serve as a witness in any investigation should be a constitutional matter.”

“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 same within the constitutional provisions.

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“The terms and wordings of the invitation extended to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to Justice Ayo Panel of inquiry against Magu run 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 role. In the case of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice has been discharging the role effectively,” the statement concluded.

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