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EFCC probe – Magu refuse secret trial, fair hearing denial by panel

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EFCC probe – Magu refuse secret trial, fair hearing denial by panel

EFCC probe – Magu refuse secret trial, fair hearing denial by panel

Suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, flagged off a clandestine trial and his exclusion from other sessions in which the Judicial Commission of Inquiry invited other adversarial witnesses and evidence against him by the panel headed by Justice Ayo Salami.

In a 16-page petition dated 10 August 2020 and addressed to Justice Ayo Salami, Magu also kicked out of several commission proceedings against the exclusion of his lawyers from the tribunal, labeling the move as a deliberate effort to deny him fair hearing.

The letter, signed by his counsel, Wahab Shittu, acknowledged that it had frequently conducted its proceedings in private since its start on 3 July 2020, contradictory to the act creating the judiciary tribunal, adding that most of the witnesses had been investigated without the presence of Magu, who is in reality the subject of the probe.

He stated that when Magu was recently allowed with his counsel to have restricted access to the proceedings, he was not permitted to cross-examine the witnesses whom the panel had scheduled to testify against him.

The lawyer said: “Specifically, our client and his counsel were exempted from the July 11 , 12, and 13, 2020 hearings, among others, despite their attendance at the sitting venue.

“During the days of absence from the investigative proceedings of the judicial commission, witnesses were called, questioned and interviewed, and papers were issued in the absence of his client and counsel.

“It should be noted that the charges against our client are clearly illegal.

Consequently, the right to a fair hearing under the constitution would not have been crassly abused in the conditions that the commission has so far shown.

‘This runs counter to the act of appointment allowing the judicial commission of inquiry to be appointed as an instrument constituting a judicial commission of inquiry into the alleged abuse of office and mismanagement of the properties recovered by the federal government from May 2015 to May 2020 by Ibrahim Magu, the acting Chairman of the EFCC.

“Our client is obviously the subject of an investigation and excluding the involvement of our client and his lawyers in any of the proceedings constitutes a gross breach of the stated letters of the instrument of appointment dated 3 July 2020, as well as of the powers granted by the Court of Investigation Act 2004.”

Magu also worried about the commission’s non-administration of oath on the witnesses it had been collecting evidence from the beginning of the trial, adding that the commission had also violated a legal clause of the law governing such trials in Nigeria.

He embarrassed the commission for refusing him the copy of the charges on which he was being prosecuted and the commission’s terms of reference just a few days before its 45-day sitting was concluded.

“It was based on persistent demand that our company obtained a copy of the ToR on 8 August, precisely 35 days after the commission’s sitting.

“And our client was refused the ability to raise concerns and question the composition of the commission membership on a time-limited basis, if he would have any.

“Once again, the fundamental right of our client to be given ample opportunity to prepare for his defense was denied.

“We note that in recent times, when our counsel was permitted to engage in the courts, counsel was not offered the chance to cross-examine witnesses, a prerogative only granted to our client who, despite the involvement of his counsel, is not a professional lawyer.

Magu ‘s lawyer has reportedly kicked off entertainment of cases still pending before the court by inviting and taking testimony from people on trial in criminal cases being heard by the country’s superior courts.

Hossana C. Infozer, you can link up with me via social media platforms @officialinfozer.

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