A retired Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), Bala Hassan, has faulted two of Justice Ayo Salami Panel’s recommendations, which seek to oust police officers from the leadership of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the recommendation asking the Chairman of the Commission to stay in office for two years at the first instance.
Hassan said both recommendations fly in the face of the EFCC ACT 2004. According to the retired cop who now lectures at the University of Lagos, the recommendations of the panel, are true is dead on arrival as the appointment of the EFCC boss was clearly spelt out in section 2(1)(a)(i-ii) of the EFCC Act 2004 which says:
(1) The Commission shall consist of the following members‐ (a) a Chairman who shall‐ (i) be the chief executive and accounting officer of the Commission; (ii) be a serving or retired member of any government security or law enforcement agency not below the rank of Assistant‐Commissioner of Police or equivalent; and (iii) possess not less than 15 years cognate experience.
“Secondly, as learned men I expect them to know too, that the tenure of the chairman is spelt out in the constitution, hence it can’t be changed without an amendment of the EFCC ACT.
Section 3(1) says (1) The Chairman and members of the Commission other than ex officio members shall hold office for a period of four years and may be re‐appointed for a further term of four years and no more.
Where then did the panel derive their power to amend the constitution,” he asked. “If the performance of the last EFCC Chairman is what informed their decision to look outside the police force, they should rather question the process that led to his appointment because the police force is filled with better educated, exposed and thorough investigators,’’ Hassan added.
Lending his voice, counsel to Ibrahim Magu, suspended Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Wahab Shittu also faulted the recommendation of the Justice Ayo Salami-led Judicial Commission of Inquiry to stop police officers from heading the agency. Shittu, however, sees the recommendation as targeted at ousting his client from the exalted seat.
According to the lawyer, the recommendation of the panel, if true, is dead on arrival as the appointment of the EFCC boss was clearly spelt out in section 2(1)(a) (i-ii) of the EFCC Act 2004. He said, “We were further alarmed with media reports stating: ‘If the plan to remove the police from the EFCC is approved, it will foreclose the recall of Acting Chairman Ibrahim Magu’. We had waited patiently for a rebuttal of this story.
Unfortunately, the story has not been retracted forcing us to respond to the misleading report. “As counsel of choice to Magu, our immediate reaction is one of shocks that the panel could contemplate what is clearly outside its mandate for undisclosed reasons.
Clearly, we are unable to understand how a Judicial Commission of Inquiry constituted by law will arrogate to itself powers outside its statutory mandate including taking over the functions of the National Assembly to amend the EFCC Act 2004.
Our client, who is incorruptible and remains innocent of all the allegations leveled against him by his accusers, was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in line with the EFCC Act.
“We wish to state with high sense of responsibility that if the media report on the matter is true, it is dead on arrival as the appointment of the EFCC boss is clearly spelt out in section 2(1)(a) (i-ii) of the EFCC Act 2004,” he stated.