Yesterday’s decision of the English court again shows the result of a detailed and thorough investigation done by the EFCC led by Mr Magu. It is a monumental landmark achievement occasioned by Magu’s hard work and leadership style.
The judgment has indeed greatly relieved the country from the impending and disastrous effect the execution of the $9.6bn judgment plus interest would have had on our fragile economy. The decision once more shows that rather than punish Mr Magu over his handling of the investigation, he should be given a heroic commendation for saving the country in a huge way. Magu should be celebrated rather than be vilified. It is rather unfortunate that the handling of P&ID investigation forms part of the allegations against him which led to his suspension.
There is no gainsaying that the evidence relied on in arriving at the decision came from the EFCC under Mr Magu. The English Judge was very satisfied with the way and manner the EFCC carried out it’s investigation when he held at paragraphs 253 and 254 of the judgment: “what occurred might have been the EFCC proceeding at it’s normal pace in the light of the resources allocated to it, the other inquiries it was conducting and conditions in Nigeria. By comparison the position after August, 2019 might be exceptional and prompted by the serious position Nigeria faced in the light of Butchers J’s decision on the enforcement application. At this point it is impossible to say, however, I cannot accept Mr Mill’s (P&ID’s counsel) submission that there was no proper dilligent investigation”.
The basic point is that there was no specific information such that Nigeria ought to have become aware of the building blocks of fraud now alleged”.
Furthermore, the Judge observed at paragraph 251 that “In my view Mr Mill underplayed the work which was undertaken over the June 2018 – August 2019 period. In particular there was the successful prosecution of P&ID and P&ID Nigeria on 19 September, 2019 based on the ground work undertaken during this fifteen-month period”. Still underscoring the commendable work by the EFCC, the Judge concluded at page 260 that: ” …the fraud is complex in character and continuing. Even on my preliminary examination it comprises a number of quite different strands. What occurred in this case was deliberately concealed. Especially with international advisers it engaged, P& ID wore the clock of legitimacy. In the circumstances which Nigeria has prima facie established it acted reasonably in its investigations…”
“The public does not know that while this investigation was on going, the investigators and prosecutors including Magu used to close from work at 1 am, 2 am and resume by 8 am including Saturdays and Sundays. Unfortunately some of these men are currently on suspension without pay or transferred out of EFCC for doing nothing but working assiduously to save this country. They were not given any allegation or issued query. Contrariwise, the investigation against Mr Magu and the EFCC would have caused the country to loose the judgment. This is because P&ID used the petition by the AGF against Mr Magu to strengthen their case with Nigeria.
Luckily, we have an upright English Judge who prudently appreciated the excellent and patriotic effort of the EFCC under Magu and the ineffectiveness of the AGF’s complaint.
Wahab Shittu: Lawyer to suspended Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu