THE Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), on Thursday, explained that he decided not to honour the invitation by Justice Ayo Salami panel, which is probing the suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission based on constitutional consideration.
The minister, who stated this in a statement by his spokesperson, Dr. Umar Gwandu, said he refused to attend the panel because the wordings of the invitation extended to him were unconstitutional.
Magu had applied to the Salami panel to issue a subpoena inviting Malami, being the main accuser, whose memo to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), triggered the setting up of the panel, to appear to testify, tender documents and be cross-examined.
Appearing on a television live programme, Malami had boasted that he would be glad honour an invitation by the Salami panel.
His Thursday’s statement justifying his decision not to honour the invitation by the panel came as departure from his previous pledge on a national television.
But he said in the statement that he had no ulterior motive not honouring the invitation.
The statement indicated, “Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, has said that his non-appearance at Justice Ayo Salami Panel of Inquiry probing the suspended chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, was purely constitutional and not based on any ulterior motive.”
The statement said inviting the AGF “to serve as a witness in any investigation should be a constitutional matter.”
It added, “In establishing propriety or otherwise of the presence of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, whose responsibility is to hold constitutional order, one must root same within the constitutional provisions.
“The terms and wordings of invitation extended to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice by Justice Ayo (Salami) panel of inquiry against Magu runs contrary to the Constitutional provisions.”