The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), has failed to appear before the Presidential Panel investigating the suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, despite a subpoena issued to him by the panel Chairman, Justice Ayo Salami (retd.)
Magu is being investigated by the panel over allegations of corruption, which Malami levelled against him.
The AGF had accused him of not acting in the overall best interest of the country and the policies of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration due to its mismanagement and lack of transparency in the handling of recovered assets among other allegations.
But Magu in a letter dated September 4, 2020 asked the panel to summon Malami to prove the allegations he accused him of.
The former Acting EFCC boss also sought the recall of “several witnesses who appeared and testified before this judicial commission of inquiry at the time” he “was not allowed to participate in the proceedings and cross-examine such witnesses”.
He said the requests were made in line with the spirit of fair hearing guaranteed under Section 36 of the Nigerian constitution.
In line with Magu’s request, Justice Salami signed and issued a subpoena to the AGF to appear before the panel to substantiate the allegations he made against him.
“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,” part of the subpoena seen by SaharaReporters read.
But instead of appearing before the panel, Malami wrote a letter of disobedience to the subpoena, stating that he would not appear as a witness.
He hinged his refusal on the fact that he only made charges against Magu based on the petitions he received against him in his office.
The AGF said he would appear before the panel if summoned in line with the Buhari administration’s respect for the rule of law.
SaharaReporters recall that Malami had during an interview recently said he would appear before the panel if summoned in line with the Buhari administration’s respect for the rule of law.
He said as chief law officer of the country, he had a responsibility to assist whatever investigation taking place locally or internationally.
He said, “So, the idea of testimony, the idea of appearance of the Office of the Attorney-General and indeed with the particular reference to Abubakar Malami before any panel, before any tribunal local and international for the purpose of supporting an investigation that will see to the establishment and unraveling the truth associated with an issue under consideration is not new. I will in no way exercise any restraints as per as honoring an invitation for the purpose of supporting any inquiry.
“So, if Ayo Salami panel invites Abubakar Malami (SAN) as a person or the Attorney-General of the Federation for any testimony or any clarification, for any examination or cross-examination for that matter, Abubakar Malami will definitely and gladly within the spirit and context of rule of law be there to testify and will submit myself to be cross-examined.”