The beating about of the bush by the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, on how some Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) have been frustrating the anti-corruption war by knowingly supplying the technical know-how and helping in the dispersal of the proceeds of crime has finally being unveiled by SecretReporters sources.
Magu out of frustration revealed how some of these SANs collected huge sums of money but refused to pay tax on them. He made these allegations in a piece titled, Need for Ethical Reforms as NBA Conference Begins. The piece was written to coincide with the annual general conference of the Nigerian Bar Association, which held in Abuja on Monday.
Magu in his statement noted that “It is personally disheartening to see lawyers who invest their talents and expertise in advancing the cause of corrupt politicians and public officials. It is amazing that a senior lawyer can accept professional fees of N1.7bn from a politician without scruples.
SecretReporters also gathered that the same lawyer with a turnover of N3, 765,414,995.24 only paid valued added tax of N7, 051,928.24. The N300m cash payment which the senior lawyer collected from a South-South state government in an election petition matter in 2016 was never captured in his tax submissions to the Federal Inland Revenue Service. “Yet when he got wind of EFCC investigation, he was quick to take advantage of the VAIDS window as cover to shield himself from the commission’s dragnet”, Magu cried.
Competent sources who spoke to SecretReporters that the unnamed SAN who pocketed the sum of N300 million and bolted away with another N1.7 billion from a corrupt politician is the newly elected Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr Paul Usoro, who was paid the money directly allegedly with Akwa Ibom State Government cheque, instead of Gov. Udom’s personal cheque or even his political party cheque, since it was an election issue for an individual and not the government.
Usoro in 2015 handled the Supreme Court case of Governor Emmanuel Udom, when he was sacked by the Court of Appeal, but later upturned.
The obviously frustrated Magu said there was a need for lawyers to demand to know the sources of income of their clients before receiving any money.
“While we are mindful of the fact that there may be more than one side to a situation which equally deserves of robust presentation and defence, we believe that no matter the positions we take on any issue, Nigeria should come first”. He stated.
Calls placed to Wilson Uwajere and Usoro were not picked or returned as at press time.