Fred Itua, Abuja
Justice Ayo Salami-led Commission of Enquiry instituted by President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate alleged fraud including diversion of recovered assets by the suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, may seek an extension of time.
President Buhari signed the letter of instrument constituting the panel on July 3.
Yesterday marked 55 days since Magu’s arrest on July 6 with the panel having sat for 40 days, if the 14 days that fell on weekends and public holidays during the period were excluded.
Daily Sun, however, learnt that the panel has asked for more time to complete its assignment, but it could not be independently verified if President Buhari has approved the request.
The development comes as lawyer to Magu, Wahab Shittu, in a statement, yesterday, said his client was yet to be summoned by the panel. He said instead of inviting Magu, the panel had been inviting people who were unconnected with the probe to testify against his client.
Shittu, who quoted Justice Salami, chairman of the panel, however, debunked reports of an interim report indicting Magu.
He said he had confronted the panel with the consequences of the purported release of the said interim report in certain sections of the media.
“The Commission of Enquiry probing the alleged misconduct against Mr. Magu stated that the release of the purported interim report did not emanate from the panel,” he said.
Faulting the propriety of the report, Shittu quoted Salami as saying: “The story arising from the so-called interim report is not from us. What should concern you and your client is what the chairman said. Inviting the promoters of the story will not serve any useful purpose as they will not disclose their sources of the story. The purported story is a figment of their imagination.”
Shittu, however, urged the panel to take a judicial notice of the publications and take necessary actions against the purveyors of the fabricated report.
Magu was suspended by President Buhari in July having held sway as acting chairman of the EFCC for almost five years, despite his rejection by the Senate twice following a report by the Department of State Services (DSS) that indicted him.
Magu, who has repeatedly denied all allegations against him, recently claimed his travails were orchestrated by powerful forces he may have offended while in office.
However, some of the witnesses that have so far appeared before the panel, have repeatedly alleged that some operatives of the EFCC, often referred to as ‘Magu Boys’, who acted as proxies collected bribes from suspects.