Chief Godwin Obla (SAN), a former prosecutor of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has revealed how the embattled EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu, refused to pay him his legal fees totalling N763.9m.
The former EFCC prosecutor said after he demanded his legal fees, Magu ordered his detention and prosecution on trumped-up charges of bribing a judge.
The former EFCC prosecutor said this while reading out an 18-page letter to the Justice Ayo Salami-led Presidential panel titled, ‘Presentation In Respect of Malicious and Reckless Abuse of State Power of Investigation and Prosecution Resulting in Mismanagement of Forfeited Assets by Deliberate and Contrived Incompetence and Suspicious Dealing of Forfeited Assets’.
Testifying before the panel in the presence of Magu on Monday, the former EFCC prosecutor presented 12 questions to the panel which Magu was required to and also made five recommendations.
Obla said he successfully prosecuted over 40 cases for the EFCC, including those of bank chiefs sacked by the CBN during the tenure of Sanusi Lamido.
The former EFCC prosecutor also presented his bill of charges to the panel.
“As of date, the EFCC owes me an outstanding balance of N685, 389, 928.10 and $202,460.47 (N78.5m) or its naira equivalent at the prevailing Central Bank of Nigeria exchange rate, together with interest at prime lending rate, being professional fees for the prosecution of over 40 high profile cases. See Statement of Claim in Suit No: FCT/CV/3220/17 BETWEEN Obla v. EFCC.”
“In effect, Ibrahim Magu deliberately and maliciously denied me the fruits of my services for EFCC whilst putting me to great expense to defend a worthless charge.”
Obla who helped the EFCC to secure the conviction of an ex-NIMASA DG, Temisan Omatseye, in 2016, said the case lasted for 6 years with 46 court appearances and he frequently had to travel from Abuja to Lagos without being paid a dime.
He added that despite securing the conviction for the EFCC, Magu accused him of bribing Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia to secure the conviction.
The former EFCC prosecutor said:
“I have never made any payment of N5m or any other amount to Justice Ajumogobia. To the best of my recollection, the payment of N5m under reference was a payment I made on May 21, 2015, to a company named Nigel & Colive Nig. Ltd, for the purchase of building materials for my construction site in Abuja (now my present office building).
“At that material time of this commercial transaction and till date, I had no prior knowledge that Justice Ajumogobia had any interest whatsoever in the company.”
Mr Magu’s lawyer, Ojaomo, admitted that Obla was being owed funds but said the EFCC had to verify the fee before payment could be made.
“Really it’s inexplicable, unexplainable, strange and the height of absurdity for a panel on a serious matter like this kind of investigation to be inviting suspects standing trial to testify against their prosecutor.
“The salami panel is offering its platform to those aggrieved one way or the other against Magu by inviting them to make presentations. The presentations/ allegations were not made available to Magu.
“Even elements with pending corruption cases in court are invited. People being prosecuted by the prosecuting agency are making wild allegations even when pending allegations have yet to be cleared in court.”