Alleged Defamation: EFCC chairman Magu testifies in court

Ag. Chairman EFCC, Ibrahim Magu
Ag. Chairman EFCC, Ibrahim Magu

The acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, on Thursday testified before an Ikeja Division of the Lagos State High Court in a defamation suit he filed against The Sun newspapers.

In his evidence, Mr Magu denied ownership of two properties allegedly traced to his wife by the newspaper, insisting that they own just one property in Abuja.

The EFCC boss told the judge, Doris Okwuobi, that The Daily Sun’s publication claiming that he was under a discreet investigation by the State Security Service (SSS) was false.

“Since I came to EFCC, nobody has investigated me. I am not under any probe,” Mr Magu said.

Last year, officials of the anti-graft agency invaded the headquarters of The Sun in Lagos claiming it was part of routine efforts to ascertain the state of assets of the publishing company which is subject of a subsisting interim forfeiture order obtained by the EFCC in 2007.

But the newspaper dismissed the claims, maintaining that the invasion was a response to its investigation of properties allegedly linked to Mr Magu’s wife.

Days after the invasion, Mr Magu filed a N100 million defamation suit against The Sun seeking, among others, a court order for the “publication of apology, retraction and rebuttal of the libelous material by defendants on the front page of the Saturday Sun newspaper for seven consecutive editions of the newspaper and teo major newspapers for seven consecutive days.”

Denying ownership of the said properties in the publication dated March 25, 2017, Mr Magu said, “I will not go and buy properties in Maitama. This is completely false.

“My wife is a civil servant. We only have one house sold to us in Karu, Abuja. It is completely untrue.”

“I want to tell you the damage it has done to me. It was not caused to me alone, it has gone down my lineage, the entire family, it has done so much wrong. It has done so much damage.”

Mr Magu said a lot of negative reactions trailed The Sun’s publication.

“They went down to my hometown. That is the detail. I am just trying to correct the damage they have done.”

During cross-examination, the EFCC boss was asked if the newspaper publication was not an allegation against him but a report from another body.

“No investigation agency was mentioned to be investigating me, no, that’s not true, they never said DSS is investigating my wife,” he said.

“The defendant published about properties they did not give even the address. That indicates it is a hatchet work.”

On the refusal of the Senate to confirm him as the chairman of the EFCC, Mr Magu said, “It is good they did not confirm me, I may not be able to do the work very well.”

The judge adjourned the proceedings till February 28, 2019.

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