The Citizens Voice Against Corruption (CIVAC) , a coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), has charged Justice Ayo Salami panel investigating suspended Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC Ibrahim Magu to ensure logical conclusion of the issue so as to deepen the fight against corruption in the country.
The coalition urged the panel not to be distracted by smear campaign aimed at truncating the panel sitting from achieving its set goal of exposing corruption.
This was contained in a statement jointly signed by Abdulrazaq Alkali ,Organization for Community Civic Engagement (OCCEN) and Princewill Okorie Association for Public Policy Analysis (APPA) issued in Abuja on Wednesday.
Solacebase reports that President Muhammadu Buhari on July 3rd approved the establishment of a Judicial Commission of Enquiry to investigate alleged financial impropriety and mismanagement of recovered assets leveled against the suspended Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu.
The panel headed by retired President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami from North Central (Kwara) has other six members that include, DIG Anthony Ogbizi Michael (NPF) Deputy Chairman, Muhammad Abubakar Babadoko (FMOJ), Member, Hassan Yahaya Abdullahi (DSS), (Member), Muhammad Shamsuddeen (OAGF), (Member), Douglas Egweme (NFIU) and Barr Kazeem Attitebi as Secretary.
According to the coalition, ‘’We wish to make ourselves clear that we are strongly in support of this investigation and we call on the Federal Government to provide the Justice Salami panel all the necessary support and resources needed to see this investigation to a logical conclusion.
It said the constitution of the Justice Ayo Salami panel to probe corruption allegations leveled against the suspended Chairman of EFCC Ibrahim Magu has proved many doubters wrong and has cemented the president Muhammadu Buhari’s resolve to fight corruption even if it involves the so-called one of its own.
‘’The selection of Justice Ayo Salami to head the investigation panel has been a masterstroke from the president, considering his incorruptible and impeccable character,’’ said the statement.
‘’The 2011 – 2013 face-off between Justice Salami and the then Federal Government only help bring his integrity and credibility to the limelight. Evidenced by how he stood his ground and refused to compromise on his moral and judicial responsibilities despite pressure and blackmail from the then Executive arm of the government and in conjunction with some corrupt elements within the Judiciary. The entire saga shows the true character of Justice Salami as an anti-corruption champion and somebody that will not be pushed around to the bidding of anybody or be blackmailed to get something out of him. ‘’
The coalition however, said unfortunately, the defendant’s team are crying wolf trying hard to derail the direction of this investigation, and have resorted to smear campaign and media blackmail using proxy groups against people involved in this investigation.
‘’These smear campaigns were first targeted towards the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, simply because he is exposing alleged corrupt practices and abuse of office by the suspended EFCC Boss, Ibrahim Magu, to the president and the investigation panel. As the detractors have been unsuccessful in tarnishing the image of the AGF using their spurious allegations, they have now turned in the direction of Justice Salami.’’
‘’The current smear campaigns and media blackmail using multiple outlets quoting fake sitting allowances and emoluments against Justice Salami and the panel members are only aimed at derailing the ongoing investigation and injuring the anti-corruption agenda of the President Buhari led government.’’
It added that knowing the integrity and incorruptible nature of Justice Salami, the detractors know that Justice Salami Panel will see through to the end of this investigation, and it is very clear that the detractors are afraid of the outcome.
The Civil Society Organizations noted that if the defendant’s team (Ibrahim Magu’s team) are not pleased with the procedure or do not believe in the legality of the investigation panel they are free to seek redress in a court of justice.
‘’We will like to call on Justice Salami and his panel members to stay focused and not be distracted by the noise of those who are vehemently opposed to the anti-corruption war.’’