The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) has called for an open process and independent observers of the presidential panel currently investigating the erstwhile Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu.
A statement delivered by the Executive Director of HEDA, Mr Olanrewaju Suraj, faulted a statement made recently by presidential aide Garba Shehu who suggested he had first-hand knowledge about the ‘final outcome’ of the presidential panel handling Magu’s case.
According to him, ‘listening to Garba Shehu speak on the expected report of the retired Justice Salami Panel investigating the allegations against Mr Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman of EFCC was very disturbing.
‘Many independent observers, local and international look forward to the outcome of an impartial, fair, independent and credible investigation into those weighty allegations by the Office of Attorney General of the Federation.
‘If not for anything, this would either vindicate Magu or indict him to pave the way for ultimate prosecution in the case of an indictment. The outcome of that panel is also capable of exposing the kind of Attorney General the country currently contends with and demands can be made for his sanction or removal.’
He maintained that the allegations levied against Magu definitely have implications for the anti-corruption records of the government, the achievements of EFCC and its integrity, the stolen assets recovery efforts of the country and other victim countries and bilateral supports of donor agencies for the anti-corruption projects and programmes of the country which he doubts if politicians behind the whole scheming are attaching conscious seriousness to them.
‘It is surprising to hear Garba Shehu preemptively alert the public to outcomes of a panel still sitting. Such a ridiculous development cast serious doubt on the integrity, impartiality, confidentiality and independence of some eminent persons on the panel.
‘Citizens should make sufficient demands for a transparent and open process in the panels business. There is a claim of a civil society representative in the committee. A check within civil society and google search on the name shows no record of any public knowledge or activities attributable to this person.
‘Panels of this nature must have an independent observer(s) and genuine civil society and media represented in the panel. I can only wish the panel the best in the era of dog eat dog that this government is embroiled and the panel is gradually inflicted,’ he stressed.