From Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation
- N4b allegation: Osinbajo demands probe
- 16 top officials before Salami committee
Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu, who is under investigation by a presidential panel, has requested bail from custody.
He has spent the fourth day at the Force Criminal investigation Department (FCID).
Magu has been detained at the FCID since Monday when he first appeared before the panel.
The presidential panel is probing Magu for allegations of misconduct levelled against him by Minister of Justice and Attorney-General Abubakar Malami.
Also on Thursday, 16 top officials of EFCC and the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), appeared before the Justice Ayo Salami-led panel sitting in Abuja.
Among those grilled are: Secretary to the EFCC Mr. Ola Oloyede, Director of Operations Mr. Mohammed Umar and a former Director of Organisational support – now a Commissioner of Police – Bolaji Salami.
A source said: “The committee gave the EFCC chiefs one week deadline to submit the list of cases investigated and prosecuted since 2015.
“I think the committee is interested in the status of each case. The sectional heads promised to meet up with the timeline.”
Read Also: Magu: Panel widens probe
It was learnt that Magu returned to the detention facility in FCID about 8pm.
Investigation showed that lawyers defending Magu made an oral submission for his bail.
They pleaded with the committee to prevail on Inspector-General of Police to release Magu on bail because it is his fundamental right.
A source said: “At the sitting of the panel, Magu’s counsel applied for bail. Since the panel did not order his detention, it advised the lawyers to address their request to Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu.
“Although a member said the Chairman of the panel could act on the panel, however, said it is the IG’s responsibility.
The lawyer argued that “apart from being on the grounds of fundamental human rights, the application for bail was borne out of Magu being a senior police officer.
“Ordinarily, Magu ought to be detained at the Police Officers Mess pending the conclusion of investigation not behind the counters as the case is at the moment.
“On his first day in FCID custody, he slept on a chair throughout the night. He opted to stay in a cell but he was asked to sleep in an office. For safety reasons, he chose to sleep on a chair.”
“Magu is appearing before a fact-finding panel, there is no justification for detaining him,” his counsel said.
A member of the committee said Magu was being “detained based on directive.”
Following the counsel’s submission, members of the committee, according to sources, asked Magu and his counsel to leave the hearing room for some minutes.
But no decision was taken on the bail request.
Magu also denied giving N4billion to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Sources quoted Magu as saying: “I did not tell the panel that I gave the Vice President N4 billion. Where will I get such money? Do I have access to such funds? It is part of mudslinging. Please clear this. I do not have any control of such cash, I did not order the transfer of N4 billion to the VP or to anybody.
“The name of the Vice President never came up at the panel’s session at all. Since the VP was not an issue, I could not have mentioned that I gave him N4 billion.”
The Vice President on Thursday asked the Inspector-General of Police to investigate malicious tweets on the alleged N4billion given to him by Magu.
Osinbajo made the demand in a July 9 petition to the IG, signed by his lawyers, Prof. Taiwo Osipitan and Abimbola Kayode.
The petition reads: “The above referred malicious tweets and publications were made on a public platform on a Twitter account with over forty-six thousand followers, some of whom have re-tweeted same hundreds of times, as at the time of writing this petition. In addition, the false allegations have elicited responses targeted at the vice president ranging from shock, outrage, to comments that cast aspersion on the integrity of the Vice President.
”The tweets and reactions thereto have also been circulated widely on other social media platforms including Facebook and WhatsApp, as well as other online websites including Newsreel with the caption “EFCC PROBE VP Osinbajo Allegedly Indicted Over N4billion Recovered Loot Diversion” available at https://newsreel.com.ng/2020/07/08/efcc-probe-vp-osinbajo-allegedly-indicted-over-n4billion-recovered-Ioot-diversion/; and YouTube at https://www.Youtube.com/watch?v
”Our instruction is that the above statements published by Mr. Jackson Ude are false in every material respect and same are designed to injure the reputation of our Client. Copies of the publications are hereby attached for ease of reference and necessary investigation.
”These vicious and malicious publications are meant to achieve one objective only, to represent to his readership and others (Nigerians and Foreigners) that our Client is a dishonest and disloyal public officer and consequently unfit for the position of Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which he is occupying.
”We are of the view that unless an action for criminal defamation is commenced against the said Mr. Jackson Ude, he will continue to use his social media platform to publish materials that are false and criminally defamatory of our Client’s reputation.
”In view of the above, we humbly request that you cause the above allegations, made against our Client, to be investigated and if the suggested investigation confirms our complaint of the falsehood of these allegations, to initiate criminal proceedings pursuant to the provisions of Sections 391 — 395 of the Penal Code Act for Criminal Defamation against the said Jackson Ude.”