There was drama on Wednesday at the venue of the ongoing probe of Ibrahim Magu, suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, after two lawyers, Fatima Hassan and Victor Giwa, were whisked away by operatives of the anti-graft agency from the Presidential Villa where a panel led by Retired Justice Ayo Salami has been sitting.
In a petition, Donald Wokoma, Special Assistant to Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, accused Magu of attempting to extort him of N75m through Giwa, who he referred to as his former lawyer.
In his testimony before the committee, Wokoma reportedly presented an audiotape of his conversation with the lawyer in order to implicate Magu.
Sources said the panel then summoned Giwa to appear before it on Tuesday where he was confronted with the recording of his telephone conversation with Wokoma.
He challenged the panel to point at any reference to any bribe payment or solicitation in the audio conversation.
Rather, he explained that he was a lawyer to the Vice President’s aide when his account was frozen by the EFCC over a failed amnesty contract involving his company.
He said he challenged the action in court on behalf of Wokoma and got a favourable judgment against the EFCC’s action.
He added that shortly before he got the judgment, EFCC had charged the matter to court with Wokoma’s company as defendant and secured a temporary forfeiture order against the account, pending the determination of the substantive matter and the anti-graft agency also appealed against his secured order for the release of the account.
According to Giwa, his former client became desperate and wrote several petitions against the EFCC and Magu to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, despite his warnings against such action.
After a while, Giwa said Wokoma told him that he had secured the services of another lawyer, Hadjia Fatima Hassan, who promised to secure the unfreezing of his account with the payment of N75m service charge which made him withdraw from matter.
The panel then demanded if he could get Fatima to appear before the panel.
On appearing before the panel on Wednesday, she confirmed the story of Giwa and went further to confirm ownership of the account numbers brandished in some sections of the media belonging to the ‘Magu boys’.
She defended the N75m as the agreed fee between her and Donald, claiming the accounts were that of her daughter, construction company and brother.
Hassan challenged the panel to conduct independent investigation into the bank accounts through NFIU to confirm the veracity of her defence.
Giwa also expressed his disappointment in the Chairman who is a lawyer, for accepting the tape containing a client-lawyer confidential conversation as evidence against him.
In frustration, the panel ordered the two lawyers to excuse them.
As both lawyers exited the venue of the sitting, they were both arrested by officials of the EFCC and taken to the Wuse 2 office of the commission.
The duo were on Thursday granted bail from the EFCC custody after they were asked to produce a level 12 officer of the federal service as surety.
A source told SaharaReporters that Malami had attempted the arrest of the lawyers using the police but the Inspector-General of Police turned down the request but the Acting EFCC Chairman, Mohammed Umar, who is equally struggling to impress him and have his acting tenure extended, willingly played ball and deployed officers for the arrest.
SaharaReporters, New York