The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, has petitioned the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, adducing reason Justice Binta Nyako should be disqualified from handling 12 consolidated suits that are raising legal issues over his continued stay in office.
Magu, in the petition he wrote through his lawyer, Mr. Wahab Shittu, requested that all cases involving the EFCC, which are currently pending before Justice Nyako, should be transferred to another Judge of the high court.
He said the application was necessary “to avoid bias and conflict of interest”, saying the EFCC under his leadership had placed Justice Nyako’s husband and her stepson on trial over their alleged involvement in money laundering.
“The commission is prosecuting the spouse and step son of his Lordship, namely; Admiral Murtala Nyako (rtd) and Senator Abdulaziz Nyako respectively”, Magu added in his petition dated July 31.
EFCC is currently prosecuting the duo before Abuja Division of the Federal High Court over their alleged complicity in the diversion of public funds while Admiral Nyako held sway as the governor of Adamawa State.
Determined to ensure that Justice Nyako was not allowed to hear the 12 suits bordering on his prolonged stay as the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Magu, in a fresh letter dated October 5, drew the attention of the Court’s Registrar to his pending petition.
His letter titled ‘Re: EFCC’s Request For Transfer Of All Consolidated Matters Involving EFCC And Its Acting Chairman From Honourable Justice Binta Nyako’s Court To Any Other Court Of The Federal High Court’, was copied to the Solicitor General of the Federation and all counsel in the proceeding.
The letter, copy of which was sighted by Vanguard on Tuesday, read: “We remain solicitors to the EFCC and its Acting Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu on whose behalf and instructions we write this letter.
“Respectfully, we write to draw His Lordships attention to our letter dated 31st July, 2018, addressed to the Honourable Chief Judge of the Federal High Court that all matter concerning the subject matter above be transferred from this Honourable Court for reasons contained in our client’s attached letter.
“Respectfully, we tremble in requesting that our clients’ position be respected in the interest of justice in this matter.
“Kindly draw His Lordship’s attention to our clients’ predicament as expressed in the attached letter now receiving the consideration of His Lordship, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court. We look forward to your cooperation in the above regard”.
Meantime, owing to the letter and the petition, Justice Nyako who had earlier okayed the matter for hearing, on Tuesday, adjourned the case sine-die (indefinetly) to await the decision of the CJ.
Justice Nyako had in a ruling on June 4, merged all the suits concerning Magu, following a joint application that was filed by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN.
Both Buhari and Malami are defendants in all the suit that have been pending before the court since last year.
While eight of the suits are praying the court to declare Magu’s continued stay in office as illegal since his nomination by President Buhari was twice rejected by the Senate, four of the suits are urging the court to hold that Magu could validly remain in office as the Acting head of the anti-graft agency despite Senate’s decision against him.
Buhari and Malami applied for all the suits to be consolidated and decided together since they revolved around the same subject matter.
They anchored the request on provisions of Order 11 and 26 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules 2009, stressing that the move was aimed at obviating the possibility of different judges of the court delivering conflicting judgments on Magu’s issue.
However, one of the litigants, Mr. Wale Balogun, opposed the request which he said was an attempt by Buhari and the AGF to “arrest” judgment in his suit which had already been heard and reserved for judgment.