The acting Chairman of the Economic Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, has berated the senior advocates of Nigeria who are taking advantage of their expertise to abuse the country's laws.
Magu said this in a piece titled ‘Need for Ethical Reforms as NBA Conference Begins’, ahead of the 2018 general conference of the Nigerian Bar Association scheduled to start on Monday, in Abuja.
The EFCC boss accused some SANs of frustrating the anti-corruption war by helping corrupt politicians take advantages of the loopholes in the laws, adding that some of the lawyers charge overtly exorbitant fees in delivering these services.
He said: “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!
“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 received 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.
“Another senior lawyer who is quick to advertise himself as the nemesis of the EFCC has a turnover of over N5.1bn with an assessed total tax liability of over a billion naira between 2010 and 2017. Sadly, he merely declared a meagre N8m as gross earnings for 2014 and 2015, and N10m for 2016.
“While we are mindful of the fact that there may be more than one side to a situation, which equally deserves robust presentation and defence, we believe that no matter the positions we take on any issue, Nigeria should come first.”
He urged lawyers to always demand for the sources of their clients' income before receiving any money.