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$413,000 bribery allegation: Kano to arraign Ganduje April 17



The Kano State High Court has fixed April 17 for the arraignment of the immediate-past Kano State governor and the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, on bribery charges.

According to the Judicial (N.N) Form 2 or “Summons to an Accused Person”, Ganduje is to be arraigned at 9 am before Justice Usman Na’aba, sitting in Courtroom 4.

He will be arraigned alongside his wife, Hafsat, son, Umar and five others on eight counts,   bordering on $413,000 and N1.38bn bribery.

The Kano State Government said it had assembled 15 witnesses to testify against them.

Also listed as defendants were Jibrilla Muhammad, Lamash Properties Ltd, Safari Textiles Ltd and Lesage General Enterprises.

Governor Abba Yusuf had on assumption of office accused Ganduje of misappropriating public funds and allocating plots of land to some members of his immediate family.

On Monday, the state governor, Abba Yusuf, urged the EFCC to release the result of its probe into the alleged dollar bribery video involving Ganduje.

Yusuf, in a statement by his spokesperson, Sanusi  Tofa, asked Ganduje to prepare to face his trial instead of talking about non-existent failure in the current administration.

Efforts to reach Ganduje for his reaction were unsuccessful.  The APC National Chairman was said to have gone to Saudi Arabia.

However, his Senior Special Assistant on Public Enlightenment, Chief Oliver Okpala,  who spoke to The PUNCH, described the move by the Kano government as an after-thought, insisting that the matter was in the jurisdiction of the Federal Government.

He said, “I am surprised at the said charge, which is coming like an afterthought. However, I am aware that the Federal High Court sitting in Kano recently gave judgment on the same issue, where it gave exclusive reserve to federal agencies to prosecute such matters after investigation, if there is prima facie evidence of committing the offences alleged.

“I will simply urge those concerned to refer to the said judgment of the Federal High Court and take a cue from it so as to be well guided, in their attempt to prosecute, so that public funds will not be dissipated without achieving any success; more so to avoid what will be termed an abuse of court process.”

In the charges, the state government alleged that “Yyou, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, sometime between the period of January 10, 2016 or thereabouts, at Kano in the Kano Judicial Division, while serving as the Governor of Kano State and being a public servant in the government of Kano State corruptly asked for and received the sum of $200,000  being benefit for yourself from one of the beneficiaries of contracts awarded by the Kano State Government on your instruction and approval as part of your function as the Governor of Kano State, thereby committed the offence of official corruption, contrary to and punishable under Section 22 of the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-corruption Commission Law 2008 (as amended), Law No 2 of 2009, Laws of Kano State of Nigeria.”

In the second count, the state government said, Ganduje, on February 10, 2017 “dishonestly and/or corruptly to your own advantage collected a kick-back of the sum of $ 213,000  being money generated from people and entities seeking or holding the execution of Kano State Government contact and or project for the remodeling of Kantin Kwari textile market as a bribe through one of the contractors (agent).

In another count, state alleged that Ganduje, between September 2020 and march 2021, “together with one Hafsat Umar (your spouse) and Abubakar Bawuro, a businessman, Safari Textile Ltd, a limited liability company, wholly owned and maintained by the 3rd defendant, agreed to do an illegal act to wit: dishonestly converted to your own use the sum of N1,376,000,000 through account No. 7085982019 belonging to the 3rd defendant being money earmarked and approved for the purchase and supply of face masks and other hospital equipment for the health sector, thereby causing wrongful loss to the people and the government of Kano State and thereby jointly committed the offence of criminal conspiracy contrary to Section 96 and punishable under section 97 of The penal code (as amended) CAP,105, Vol.2. The Laws of Kano State of Nigeria, 1991.”

The Kano State’s Attorney General, Muhuyi  Magaji, said he was empowered by Section 211 of the 1999 Constitution and Sections 121(1), 126(b) and 377 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law, 2019, “to apply to prefer the charge attached herewith against the defendants.”

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