You Can’t Dictate What To Write In My Statement, Banire Tells EFCC Operative

Dr. Muiz Banire,the national legal adviser, All Progressives Congress, APC

Dr. Muiz Banire, SAN, National Legal Adviser, All Progressives Congress, APC

The National Legal adviser of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Dr Muiz Banire, SAN who was invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC last Thursday to give more explanation on N500,000 he gave to a judge who requested financial assistance to bury his late mother kicked against attempts by EFCC interrogator to dictate what to write in his statement, an impeccable source had told The Complete News.

The monetary assistance he extended to the judge had been alleged to be a bribe, an allegation the former Lagos commissioner for Transport had consistently refuted.

It was gathered that Banire rejected the dictates of his interrogator which was ostensible to change the narrative of cash gift to a ‘bribe’. The Senior Advocate reportedly wrote his statement according to what transpired between him and the embattled Judge of the National Industrial Court, Justice Terseer Agbadu-Fishim.

Meanwhile, prior to his invitation on Thursday, Banire had written the anti-graft on Monday expressing his willingness to voluntary come and give more details on the matter.

The Source said,“ I want to confirm that Dr. Muiz Banire wrote the EFCC on Monday that he would be coming to their office on Tuesday, 1 November. He was there but the officer in charge of the matter was not around. The same thing happened on Wednesday. The case was assigned on Thursday”.

The Source continued, “The whole exercise was a mere waste of time and display of crudest manner of investigation in which the policeman (EFCC Interrogator) was attempting to dictate his statement to Dr. Banire. This, the learned SAN protested and gave his own version of what transpired. He left the place in the evening for his house”.

“On Friday, he was there at 10 am but the Investigating officer did not come until 4 p.m. only to tell Dr. Banire and other 24 Senior Advocates Nigeria invited to undertake to report again next week”.

Banire, who is the Convener of the United Action for Change(UAC), a fast growing non-political pressure group ,at a meeting of the group held last Sunday in Ikeja area of Lagos State briefed members on how he met the embattled judge which he described as old friend when he was lecturing at the University of Lagos.

He explained, “The man involved (Justice Fishim), I met him around 1996. He came to do Masters degree at the University of Lagos. He got employment as a Research fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. For those who know University of Lagos well, the Faculty of law and the institute are beside each other.

“ So when they do seminar and conferences we attend together, there is this natural rapport between the Law Faculty and the institute.

“I must tell you for free that as we are talking right now, I cannot recollect the face of the man. The last time I saw him last was around 1999 before I went into government. And that was approximately over 17 years ago.

“Now, about four years ago, he sent me a text and re-introduced himself again to me. He was lamenting I have not been picking his number that he had call severally. For those who know me, I don’t pick unknown numbers, I only reply text messages sent through numbers I don’t know. Anyway, we exchanged pleasantries and it ended there.

“Two weeks later, he then sent me a text, pleading, ‘My brother, please my mother died and I am financially stressed, I will appreciate if you could do anything to assist me’. I said that was not a problem and I requested for his account details which I sent N500,000 to him. That was the circumstance which the money was given.

“Secondly, and most importantly, In my entire life the first time I went to the National Industrial Court was early this month (now, last month, October) not to now talk of doing any case before him. I have never appeared for one day before him. For me, he was more or less an old friend. I didn’t deal with him as a judge. I didn’t have any official relationship with him”.