A former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami (retd.), has denied media reports about him expressing regrets for accepting the appointment to chair the Federal Government’s Judicial Commission of Inquiry probing the suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr Ibrahim Magu.
Since July, the panel which was set up by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), has been probing Magu for various allegations, including abuse of office and mismanagement of recovered assets levelled against him in a memo sent to Buhari by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN).
Reports had quoted two lawyers representing Magu that Salami expressed regrets accepting the appointment during the proceedings of the panel last week.
But Salami in a statement on Tuesday maintained that he had no cause to express any regret over his chairmanship of the commission, not to talk of betraying any form of emotion as contained in the media reports.
The statement came as the first public engagement by Salami, who had since taking up the new role, resisted calls to make the commission’s proceedings public.
The former President of the Court of Appeal did not in his Tuesday’s statement address other allegations, such as violation of Magu’s right to fair hearing and acting outside the powers of the commission, which had been previously leveled against him and the panel.
Reacting to the reports of him expressing regrets taking up the role on Tuesday, Salami said, “No claims can be further from the truth than the outright falsehood contained in the said report.”
He added, “The reports were a figment of the wild imagination of the reporter, the two lawyers quoted as his sources and the medium that published the story.
“There was no time anything near the unthinkable scenario painted in the false story occurred in any meeting between myself and the lawyers to Magu or any other person, for that matter, since the Judicial Commission of Inquiry began its sittings.
“l have no cause to express any regret over my chairmanship of the Commission, not to talk of betraying any form of emotion before anyone about it.
“I see my appointment to serve as the Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry as an honour and call to service, thus my decision to accept diligently and patriotically discharge this responsibility.
“I have never appointed any of the two lawyers or any other person(s) to speak on my behalf as I can express myself without recourse to the lawyers of the persons we are probing.
“As an eminent jurist, who retired as the President of the Court of Appeal, I have handled much more complex cases than the current one before the Commission.”
He stated that “the false reports were aimed at causing mischief and tarnishing my hard-earned reputation and integrity”.
“I remain resolute and committed to the service of the nation and ready to champion the ideals of justice and fairness,” Salami said.