A tape revealing how some Economic and Financial crimes Commission, EFCC, operatives, popularly known as ‘Magu Boys’ demanding bribe of N75 million, to be paid into different accounts, from a businessman has been played before the Justice Ayo Salami-led Presidential Probe Panel.
Tendering an affidavit of fact in support of a petition he wrote against the so-called ‘Magu Boys’ for extortion before unfreezing his account, the businessman, Donald Wokoma of Damijay Integrated Services Limited, also tendered the tape before the presidential panel.
The EFCC, had in 2018, refused to obey the order of Justice O.C. Agbaza, to lift the restrictions on the account of Damijay Services Limited, after the firm had filed a suit for fundamental rights enforcement at the FCT High Court.
Abuja-based lawyer, Barrister Victor Giwa, who was the former lawyer to Damijay Integrated Services Limited, and alleged to be involved in the deal, did not deny his voice in the 27-minute tape recording, played before the presidential panel, where he mentioned names of suspended Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, among other operatives over the bribery allegation.
In the affidavit, the businessman alleged that on or around 20th of May, 2020, Barrister Giwa asked him to sign three blank cheques, valued at N25 million each, which he would hand over to the people in EFCC to enable them unfreeze the account.
The said “Magu boys”, had allegedly sent three different bank accounts, namely: Cikin Gida Nigeria Limited, with account number: 1771773211, at Polaris Bank; Black and Black Global Concept Limited, with account number: 0259011841 with GTBank and Amina Kigbu, with account number: 2176716071 with Zenith Bank, for the payment of the alleged bribe.
It was also alleged that when the cheques were not honoured by the bank, the ‘Magu Boys’ requested that the businessman should execute an Irrevocable Standing Payment Order, ISPO, on the company’s official letterhead, in favour of the three bank accounts; even as they alleged to have later demanded for 40 per cent of the money in the company’s account, which aggregates to N100 million, which the businessman outrightly rejected.
The businessman claimed that after rejecting their last demand, “On the 9th of July, 2020, Mr. Mohammed Goje of the EFCC called me to come to their office the next day, being 10th July, 2020, (Friday)…I honoured the invitation and stayed for long hours, only for me to be informed by him (around 5: 09pm after I had left) that I have been charged to court by SMS; and that I was to appear before the F.C.T. High Court, sitting at Lugbe by 8:30 am on Monday, 13th July, 2020 to be with a copy of the charge and arraigned simultaneously.”
He added, “He warned me via the SMS to ‘endeavour to come to avoid unnecessary embarrassment.’ On the 13th of July, 2020, while at the Lugbe High Court, I was served with an Amended Charge dated and filed on the 19th day of June, 2020 (exactly 2 days after I outrightly rejected their fresh demand of 40 per cent of the total sum of the money in the company’s account).
“The said amended charge was signed by one Abba Muhammed of the Legal and Prosecution Department of the EFCC, with Supreme Court No: (SCN046977). Upon going through the documents served on me in court, I discovered to my chagrin that there is an earlier charge, dated the 3rd day of January, 2019 and filed on the 4th day of January, 2019 signed by one Aisha A. T. Habib, from the Legal & Prosecution Department of the EFCC with Supreme Court No: SCN014045. This particular charge of 4th January, 2019, (which is over a year and five months) was never served on me.
“After presenting the petition to the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and specifically on Monday, the 6th day of August, 2020, I called Barrister Victor Giwa and informed him that a copy of the correspondences he has been exchanging with the operatives of the EFCC would be needed at the office of the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation in support of the petition.
“In response to my request as per the preceding paragraph, Barrister Victor Giwa told me over the phone that he has been receiving calls from agents of the EFCC; and that in particular, one Aisha of the EFCC was crying and pleading with him not to expose them else her career would be ruined.
“He (Barrister Giwa) further said that some other EFCC officials, who he has been corresponding with, called him to query him on why he allowed me to write the petition to the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and demanded that the said petition (Exhibit Dami 1) be withdrawn, else there would be consequences after the storm currently buffeting the Commission.
“Barrister Vicor Giwa further told me that those EFCC officials reminded him that he is a young lawyer and that he has a lot before him and that he should not forget that what is happening at the EFCC at the time was a tussle between the Honourable AGF and the suspended Acting Chairman of the EFCC and boasted that things would soon return to normal at the EFCC. They thereafter asked him to call me so we could have a meeting where the matter would be effectively resolved.
“On 7th August, 2020, I instructed Barrister Johnmary Jideobi to call Barrister Giwa and remind him of the request I made on him the previous night. Barrister Victor Giwa told Barrister Johnmary Jideobi that he was not going to make the correspondences yet available to me, because he had those discussions with the EFCC people in confidence and that we should not join the fray of what was/is happening because no one knows tomorrow. That he would not want to offend the people who gave him the information in confidence, since he should be honourable enough not to do things that would offend them. Barrister Victor Giwa later told Barrister Johnmary Jideobi that he would call him back and hung up but never did that day.”