The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has explained the visit of its Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu to the Chief Judge of Rivers State on Monday.
In a statement issued by the Spokesman of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren on Tuesday, he said the visit was not connected to any of its cases pending before the chief judge, Justice Adama Iyayi-Lamikanra.
Uwujaren said Magu’s visit to Iyayi-Lamikanra was a courtesy call as part of his working visit to the headquarters of the South South zonal office of the commission in Port Harcourt.
“Apart from the Chief Judge, Magu also visited the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Zaki Ahmed.
“Indeed, it is a matter of routine courtesy for the EFCC boss to visit critical stakeholders, particularly law enforcement and justice sector leaders in zones where the commission maintain offices.
“Such gestures are not meant to compromise or influence them to favour the commission in the discharge of their responsibilities,’’ he explained.
The EFCC spokesman said the clarification was in reaction to a report in a national daily purporting that the visit was causing disquiet in the state.
He quoting the report as saying “the state House of Assembly is considering passing a resolution calling for the suspension of the chief judge for receiving Magu’’.
Uwujaren said an anonymous source told the paper that the lawmakers believed the visit had put the Chief Judge under pressure, and that it was wrong for Magu to visit a judge over any case.
Uwujaren noted that the visit was pursuant to the commission’s belief that it had a shared responsibility with other workers in the justice delivery system to promote the fight against corruption.
According to him, visits such as this one offer the commission the opportunity to share experiences and remind the hosts of their responsibilities under the EFCC Act, especially as it concerns the designation of judges to handle EFCC cases.
“Justice Laminkara is not the first Chief Judge to host Magu and it will be distasteful to malign her over a civilised gesture of receiving a head of a federal agency.
“Many judges have hosted Magu without a whimper from any quarter. Before now, the EFCC boss visited the Chief Judges of Lagos, Ogun and Oyo States.
“At the federal level, he has paid courtesy visits to the Chief Judges of the Federal High Court, the Federal Capital Territory High Court and the President of the Court of Appeal.
“These visits have not stopped the commission from losing cases before judges under the supervision of these respected judicial officials,’’ he said.