Wahab Shittu is the counsel to the suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, who has been in detention since Monday, July 6, 2020, over alleged abuse of office.
Apart from a statement from the presidency on Saturday, nothing has been heard directly from Magu or the Justice Ayo Salami-led presidential panel investigating him.
In this telephone interview, Shittu, among other issues, debunks media reports that the interest on N550 billion recovered by the EFCC in the period under review was re-looted by his client.
Are you hoping to secure Magu’s bail based on the request you tendered on Friday?
Mr. Ibrahim Magu is not interested in challenging the Federal Government or President Muhammadu Buhari because he has a lot of respect for the president and believes that the president will look at his case with objectivity and fairness, because in his (Magu’s) view, he is innocent and there are documents to support his innocence.
Mr. Magu believes that what he is fighting for is a fight for all Nigerians; not his personal fight.
So, if you are fighting on behalf of the people of Nigeria, you don’t have to wrestle, you don’t have to struggle, you allow God to fight your case, you allow justice to fight your case, you allow people to fight your case.
He is going to wait, believing that the authorities know there is no reason to detain him, and that keeping him in detention is not worth it.
This is not the way to compensate him for what he has done for this country.
He is not agitating for anything but justice; to be given full opportunity to defend and clear his name, because really there are no allegations that will stain his records.
He also wants people to know that since EFCC was created, he has achieved what no any other chairman achieved in terms of conviction, in terms of asset recovery and in short, in terms of everything.
He also wants everyone to clear with him first before putting any message out there that will portray him as if he is confronting government.
Of course he knows that some people are trying to mislead the government, but he knows that government will investigate and come out with what is factual because everything is documented.
Stories are flying in the media that Magu re-looted the interest that accrued from the recovered loot. What is your take on this?
It is elementary knowledge that recovered loot goes to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); to the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
You should know that there is no issue of interest there.
Once money is recovered, it goes into the TSA.
Those spreading false claims are fraudsters trying to deceive Nigerians.
It is libelous.
That is why we want to hear from you…?
Yes, of course.
You know some people simply sit somewhere and concoct stories: bear parlour gossips and ramblings in the market place without substance.
Magu will not join issues with anyone.
We will present facts and figures to the government.
And some of these facts are known to the government; they are with various agencies.
We will support what Magu stands for – fighting corruption – for which he has gotten accolades locally and internationally.
There are reports that the panel has given Magu some days to put together his defence.
How prepared are you ahead of the presentation?
We are more than 100 per cent prepared with our defence.
Our concern is that they should give us a copy of the allegations.
If you are accused of anything, are you not entitled to get a copy of your accusations?
Are you saying up till now you have not got a copy of the accusations against your client?
Yes; we are demanding.
We hope the panel will give it to us.
We are not antagonising the panel.
The panel was set up by the president and we hope that it will give us everything that will assist it.
Please, Magu is not abusing anybody.
Magu is not disrespectful to anybody.
Magu is an innocent citizen who was given a job to do by the Federal Government and he did it satisfactorily to the best of his knowledge.