Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja
Mr. Wahab Shittu, a lawyer to the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, says his client will no longer condone allegations levelled against him.
Shittu said this in a statement on Sunday titled, ‘Re: Magu faces questions over assets declaration- Fresh Propaganda Against Our Client Prejudicial to Panel Proceedings’.
The statement was in reaction to media reports that Magu was facing fresh investigation for failing to declare his assets before the Code of Conduct Bureau as required by law.
The lawyer said they were shocked by several false and defamatory imputations not arising from the proceedings of the panel.
He said, “Take notice that our client can no longer fold his hands in the face of these sustained malicious attacks to prejudge him in the public space. Our client will henceforth, point by point reply to all false allegations orchestrated against him in the public space on a daily basis as well as present his comprehensive defence for the world to see. This is without prejudice to the willingness of our client to defend himself in the ongoing proceedings at the Presidential Investigation Panel.”
Shittu said funds recovered from indebted oil marketers on behalf of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation were not misappropriated by the commission.
The lawyer said, “The truth of the matter is that, well over N329bn recovered by the EFCC under our client’s watch was remitted directly into NNPC dedicated accounts via REMITTA under a special arrangement endorsed by the NNPC, the EFCC and the affected NNPC indebted marketers.
“By virtue of the said special arrangement, the NNPC had requested formally the EFCC to recover the said amount from the affected oil marketers who were expected to pay such funds directly to NNPC while the NNPC in turn confirmed receipt of such payments to EFCC.
“Therefore, the EFCC never took custody of any of the recovered funds and so, the question of misappropriation of such funds by EFCC or our client could not have arisen as falsely published. This can be independently verified both at the NNPC and the EFCC records.”
Shittu said the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company LTD, a subsidiary of NNPC had in a letter dated August 17, 2017 with reference number PPMC/MD/254, actually commended the EFCC under Magu’s watch.
He said the issue of NNPC recovered funds had never featured in the proceedings of the panel and Magu had not been confronted with such allegations.
On the issue of asset declaration, the lawyer said it was orchestrated falsehood.
“Our client has never been confronted with any such allegations purportedly arising from the panel’s proceedings. The story attributed to the panel which has become a recurring decimal is a dangerous attempt to discredit the work of the honourable panel,” he said.
On allegations that Magu failed to properly explain the rationale for exclusion of culprits in the alleged misapplication of N3bn at the Federal Inland Revenue Service, the lawyer said his client never shielded anyone from probe or prosecution.
The statement further stated, “Our client has been unfairly accused of failure to properly explain the rationale for excluding some culprits in the alleged misappropriation of N3bn at the FIRS. This is falsehood from the pit of hell. Investigations were painstakingly conducted by EFCC under our client’s watch.
“The matter has since been referred for prosecution. Charges have been prepared ahead of arraignment in court. Therefore, the question of complicity by our client does not arise. Our client did not give any express or implied directive that anyone indicted be excluded from the legal process.”
Shittu said one Peter Hena, Head of the FIRS Support Services Group, who allegedly authorised the illegal payment, is one of those listed to be arraigned.