Magu: Ex-cop knocks Salami panel on recommendations

A retired Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), Bala Hassan, has knocked 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) as well as the recommendation asking the Commission’s chairman to stay in office for two years at the first instance.

Hassan stated this Friday in Abuja in a chat with journalists.

According to Hassan, both recommendations “fly in the face of the EFCC Act 2004.”

He noted that the appointment of the EFCC boss was clearly spelt out in Section 2(1)(a)(i-ii) of the EFCC Act 2004 which read: “(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.”

Hassan said: “I expect them, as learned men, 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?

“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.”

Also, the counsel to Ibrahim Magu, the suspended acting chairman of the EFCC, Wahab Shittu, said: “As counsel of choice to Magu, our immediate reaction is one of shock 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 levelled against him by his accusers, was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in line with the EFCC Act.”

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