Says “I never regret my appointment to head panel of inqui
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri – Abuja
Former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami, on Tuesday, said he has no cause to regret his appointment as Chairman of the Presidential Judicial Commission of Inquiry that is currently investigating allegations against the suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu.
In a statement, he personally signed and made available to newsmen in Abuja, Justice Salami, said his Commission would thoroughly investigate all the allegations against Magu, “with a view to unearthing the truth and ensuring that justice is manifestly done”.
He said his attention was drawn to “false and mischievous reports circulating in the media”, about his purported regrets to head the probe panel.
Justice Salami debunked the reports as total falsehood aimed at causing mischief and tarnishing his hard-earned reputation and integrity.
Noting that as an eminent jurist, he handled much more complex cases than the current probe of the suspended EFCC boss, the former PCA maintained that no amount of propaganda can dampen his spirit and that of other members of the panel.
He said: “Ordinarily, I would not have dignified the purveyors of this falsehood with any form of rebuttal, but the need to put the records straight and expose their barefaced lies has necessitated my response.
“No claims can be further from the truth than the outright falsehood contained in the said report.
“The reports were a figment of the wild imagination of the reporter, the two lawyers quoted as his sources and the medium that published the story.
“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 other 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 President of the Court of Appeal, I have handled much more complex cases than the current one before the Commission.
“There is no doubt that the false reports were aimed at causing mischief and tarnishing my hard-earned reputation and integrity.
“I remain resolute and committed to the service of the nation and ready to champion the ideals of justice 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 carrying on in the conduct of their client’s case before the Commission.
“Planting such lies in the media about proceedings at the panel 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 type of lies and blackmail will not deter me and other members of the Commission from discharging our duty conscientiously.
“I urge Nigerians to disregard the falsehood contained in the viral reports.
“No amount of propaganda can dampen my spirit and that of the members of the Commission.
“I also want to assure Nigerians that the Judicial the Commission of Inquiry which I Chair, will continue with its thorough investigation of the allegations against the suspended acting EFCC Chairman with a view to unearthing the truth and ensuring justice is manifestly done.
“The Nigerian Press is hereby implored to respect and uphold the sanctity of the tenets of ethical journalism practice of verification of information, balancing reports and contacting appropriate sources before publishing their reports in the spirit of patriotism and national interest”.
The suspended EFCC Chairman is facing probe over allegations bordering on abuse of office and mismanagement of Federal Government Recovered Assets and Finances from May 2015 to May 2020.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, raised the allegations against him in a memo he forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Malami, among other things, alleged that Magu, as the Acting Chairman of EFCC, “is not acting in the overall best interest of the country and the policies of this administration due to its Mismanagement and Lack of Transparency in Managing Recovered Assets; Diversion of Recovered Assets for Personal Enrichment; Neglecting to Investigate the P&ID case as directed by the President”.
Magu was further accused of, “flagrant disobedience to directives and to court orders”, as well as “mismanagement and lack of transparency in managing recovered assets”.