Chairman of the Presidential Judicial Commission of Inquiry, Justice Isa Ayo Salami (rtd), has stated that he has no regrets probing the fraud allegation against the suspended Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu. Justice Salami, a onetime President of the Court of Appeal, in a statement he personally signed yesterday, said the report of him having regrets over his appointment as chairman of the commission is false.
He said: “There was no time anything near the unthinkable scenario painted in the false story occurred in any meeting between myself and the lawyers to Magu or any other person, for that matter, since the judicial commission of inquiry began its sittings.
“I have no cause to express any regret over my chairmanship of the commission, not to talk of betraying any form of emotion before anyone about it. I see my appointment to serve as the Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry as an honour and call to service, thus, my decision to accept diligently and patriotically discharge this responsibility. “I have never appointed any of the two lawyers or any person(s) to speak on my behalf as I can express myself without recourse to the lawyers of the persons we are probing. As an eminent jurist, who retired as the then President of the Court of Appeal, I have handled much more complex cases than the current one before the commission.”
He added that there is no doubt that the false reports were aimed at causing mischief and tarnishing his hard-earned reputation and integrity. Salami said he remains resolute and committed to the service of the nation and ready to champion the ideals of justices and fairness. ”I want to point out that such wild claims against me and the commission are not strange to me, given the manner in which the lawyers to Magu have been planting such lies in the media about proceedings at the panel. That has been their pastime.
They believe that it is by engaging in such media propaganda against the commission that their client can be easily absolved of the various allegations that have been brought against him. ”I want to state here that these types of lies and blackmail will not deter me and other members of the commission from discharging our duty conscientiously” he said. Meanwhile, Barr. Wahab Shittu, counsel to the suspended Acting Chairman of EFCC has said that Magu’s closing remarks before the Justice Salami panel was twisted.
Shittu, in a statement issued in Abuja last night, said: “Our attention has been drawn to a misleading story in a certain online medium with a misleading headline – Magu confesses, begs…. “We wish to state that this story was twisted fundamentally out of context by my client’s accusers who want to hit back at my client without justification.
“It is true that Magu and I addressed the panel at the conclusion of his defence while Magu clarified that he threw himself to the job of acting chair because of his passion for the anti-corruption war, a situation that may be alleged overzealousness in some quarters.
“He, however, pleaded for justice and fair-play by the panel members in the context of his overall achievements and his fledging career which hitherto remain unblemished and will terminate in two years’ time.
“Counsel to Magu also urged the panel members in the interest of fear of God and loyalty to their conscience to ensure justice in the matter and concluded by thanking them for patience and understanding throughout the proceedings.
“At no time did Magu admit to guilt to the allegations, the subject matter of the inquiry. Indeed the only thing going for Magu is his conviction of his innocence. “A member of the panel had cause to inquire from me whether I am convinced that the panel will do justice to my client? I responded in the affirmative and I hope my optimism of the justice of the process at the end will not be illusory.”