Ibrahim Magu’s legal counsel, Oluwatoyin Ojaomo, has disclosed reasons why his client is being probed by a presidential panel.
Ojaomo disclosed during an interview that one of the reasons his client was being investigated was because of the recoveries he announced publicly.
He stated that the forces behind corruption are trying to tarnish Magu’s image, adding that Magu was also being questioned because the recovered funds remitted to the government were more than the monies declared.
Speaking on plans to secure the release of his client, Magu’s lawyer said he would submit an application to the police authorities for his release.
He explained that he was unable to see his client on Thursday, despite waiting for hours at the Force Criminal Investigation Department, Garki.
He said,”I just left the FCID now (8:30pm) having waited endlessly to see Magu, but they had not brought him back from the Presidential Villa. Tomorrow (today), I will file an application before the police authorities for his release,” he stated.
In another interview, he said, “We are still trying to get him bailed. I was there early in the morning but I was told he had already been taken to the Villa. They have not shown us any remand order. However, I was told that he is being treated decently.
“The problem is that once he is taken from there (FCID) at about 8am, he remains with the panel till evening. The DIG is the one in charge as regards detention and he has the power to approve administrative bail. I have been trying to see him as regards Magu’s case.”
When asked about the status of Magu, Ojaomo responded, “He is in high spirits. I am confident that Magu will emerge victorious.”
The lawyer said he would return to the FCID by 8am on Friday to make a formal application for bail.
“On Friday I will make a formal application for bail.”
Ojaomo rubbished insinuations that Magu could be detained perpetually without a court order because he is a serving police officer.
“Our aim, for now, is just to get him out of there. Every Nigerian has a constitutional right to liberty. Even though what we hear these days is that the police can keep him because he is a senior officer, I do not subscribe to that. He ought to be treated like a Nigerian”, the lawyer said.
Meanwhile, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has written the Inspector-General of Police asking for a probe into the allegation of receiving N4bn from Magu.
In the letter, sent on his behalf by his lawyer, Prof, Taiwo Osipintan (SAN), the Vice-President urged the IGP to prosecute the alleged accuser, Mr Jackson Ude, for criminal defamation if investigations proved his allegation to be false.
Osipitan confirmed to one of our correspondents that the letter dated July 8, 2020 was delivered at the IGP’s office on Thursday.
“Yes it was delivered at the Inspector-General of the Police this morning,” Osipitan told our correspondent.
The letter was also copied the VP’s office and the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, had on Wednesday said there was no truth in the online report that Osinbajo received N4bn from Magu.
The report had claimed that Magu told the presidential panel probing him that he gave Osinbajo N4bn after the vice- president asked him to release part of recovered loot.
According to the VP’s letter to the IGP on Thursday, Ude is an online journalist who published the allegedly defamatory report on his website, PointBlank News on July 8, 2020.
The VP denied the allegation in the letter.
The letter read in part, “Our instruction is that the above statements published by Mr Ude are false in every material respect and same are designed to injure the reputation of our client.
“Copies of the publications are hereby attached for ease of reference and necessary investigation.
“These vicious and malicious publications are meant to achieve one objective only, to represent to his readership and others (Nigerians and Foreigners) that our client is a dishonest and disloyal public officer and consequently unfit for the position of Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which he is occupying.”
He, however, urged the IGP to probe Ude’s allegation and if found to be false, the accuser should be prosecuted for criminal defamation in line with sections 391 – 395 of the Penal Code.
The letter stated, “We are of the view that unless an action for criminal defamation is commenced against the said Mr. Jackson Ude, he will continue to use his social media platform to publish materials that are false and criminally defamatory of our Client’s reputation.
“In view of the above, we humbly request that you cause the above allegations, made against our client, to be investigated and if the suggested investigation confirms our complaint of the falsehood of these allegations, to initiate criminal proceedings pursuant to the provisions of Sections 391 – 395 of the Penal Code Act for Criminal Defamation against the said Jackson Ude.”