It was a strange and bizarre twist of events as Mr Abubakar Malami SAN, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation refused to appear before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry, JCI, headed by the retired president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami despite a subpoena issued to him by the Chairman of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate the allegations he leveled against the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr Ibrahim Magu.
Mr Ibrahim Magu had consistently requested the opportunity to confront his accuser before the Panel including an opportunity to be given the allegations leveled against him by the Attorney General of the Federation.
Mr Malami failed to appear before the Commission of Inquiry to substantiate the allegations he leveled against Mr Ibrahim Magu in the memo he wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari which was the basis upon which the Judicial Commission of Inquiry was set up by the President.
However, upon conclusion of presentation of witnesses before the Commission of Inquiry, Mr Ibrahim Magu was called upon to present his defence which he has done by presenting a volumes of written responses to all the allegations against him backed by numerous exhibits and truck load of documents showing his achievements as the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and official documents showing that no recovered assets was missing or diverted to personal use for his benefit or those of his close associates.
Mr Ibrahim Magu had also requested before the Tribunal to issue subpoenas to certain persons to appear before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry to give evidence in support of their allegations and to be cross-examined upon such wild and unsubstantiated allegations.
In line with Mr Magu’s request, Justice Ayo Salami who is the Chairman of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry signed and issued a subpoena to the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami SAN to appear before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry at the instance of Mr Ibrahim Magu to come and substantiate the allegations he made against him.
In the said Subpoena, it was stated as follows; “You are hereby commanded in the name of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to appear before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry to give evidence in respect of your allegations against Mr Ibrahim Magu”.
But instead of appearing before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry, Mr Malami wrote a letter in disobedience to the subpoena issued for him to appear on the authority of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria stating that he would not appear as a witness.
He hinged his refusal on the fact that he only made charges against Mr Magu based on the petitions he received against him in his office. The above excuse is untenable and is clearly a contempt of judicial authority and shows total disregard for the authority of President Muhammadu Buhari on whose authority the subpoena was issued requesting his appearance before the JCI.
Recall that a few weeks back, Mr Malami had taken to the media boasting to the whole world that he would appear before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry if summoned to do so. Now that the opportunity has been presented, he is shying away from that call because his allegations cannot be substantiated with facts or any shred of credible evidence.
The position of the law is clear, whenever a petitioner refuses to substantiate his petition before the appropriate authority, such a petition is declared to be frivolous.
Now that the main accuser of Mr Ibrahim Magu has refused to appear before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry, the world waits with bated breath to see what Justice Ayo Salami Judicial Commission of Inquiry will report to President Muhammadu Buhari.