Ganduje’s ex-commissioner remanded over alleged N1bn fraud


court toolA Kano State Chief Magistrates’ Court, on Tuesday, ordered the remand of a former Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Idris  Saleh, in the custody of  the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission over alleged N1bn  fraud.

The defendant, who served under immediate-past Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, was charged with two counts, bordering on false information and cheating.

The prosecutor, Salisu Tahir, told the court that the defendant was arrested on Monday, July 3, at about 2.30 pm.

The prosecution alleged that the ex-commissioner, sometime in 2023, released the sum of N1bn to Arafat Construction Company, No Stone Construction Company and Multi-Resources to rehabilitate 30 roads in the metropolis.

According to the prosecution, the projects were not  carried out.

Tahir, while applying to court to remand Saleh in custody for 14 days, cited Section 295(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law 2019.

“The defendant has case to answer on N1bn belonging to the Kano State government.

“The exparte application is supported by seven paragraphs deposed by  Inspector Sa’id Ilu, attached are six voucher exhibits,” the prosecutor said.

But the defence counsel, Mustapha Idris, urged the court to release the ex-commissioner on bail  pursuant to sections 35(6) and 36(5) of Nigeria’s constitution.

“The defendant is presumed innocent and the offence is bailable pursuant to Section 168 and 172 of ACJL Kano State 2019 and order 5 rule 1 and 3 of ACJL rules 2023,” Idris argued.

In his ruling, the chief magistrate, Tijjani Sale-Minjibir, ordered the remand of the defendant in the custody of the state anti-graft agency for 12 days.

The magistrate said the defendant must be put under good condition.

He adjourned the matter until July 14, for ruling on bail application.

The chairman of the Kano anti-corruption agency, Muhuyi Gado, had earlier told The PUNCH that Saleh and others were arrested on Monday evening.

“The arrested former commissioner and others are still with us undergoing interrogation,” Gado told our correspondent on Tuesday.

It was gathered that the money, which was alleged to have been withdrawn in three tranches, was paid into the account of three companies around April 25, 2023.

“Surprisingly the Public Procurement Bureau even issued a certificate of no objection for the contract after the payment was made 10 days earlier, which is contrary to the Kano State Procurement Act 2021.

“The companies are bogus, having almost the same letterhead without a tentative office.

“The due process office said the certificate of no objection was issued  because the Kano Road Maintenance Agency said the rehabilitation of the roads would be carried out through direct labour but the papers submitted read otherwise,” the anti-corruption agency said.

Gado, who was sacked by Ganduje’s administration but was recently reinstatement by Governor Abba Yusuf, has also vowed to reopen investigation in the alleged ‘dollar video’ involving Ganduje.

Efforts to reach Mallam Muhammad Garba, who served as Commissioner for Information under Ganduje, were unsuccessful as he didn’t pick phone calls.

However, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress in Kano State, Alhaji Alhassan Yaryasa, told our correspondent that Ganduje would never direc his commissioners to commit such a crime.

Yaryasa, who is a former coordinator of the Tinubu Camping Organisation for Kano South, said, “Ganduje is just like the former governor, Mallam Shekarau. When they give you appointments they hardly follow you and check what you are doing. But Kwankwaso and former Jigawa State governor, Sule Lamido, are different from Ganduje and Shekarau because they ensure checks and balances in their government.”

Meanwhile, the Kano governor, on Tuesday, said his administration was focused on the state’s industrialisation, energy, security, and climate change initiatives.

A statement said Yusuf spoke when participants of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, paid him a courtesy visit.

Represented by the Deputy Governor, Aminu Gwarzo, Yusuf congratulated the participants of the Senior Executive Course 45 for their involvement in the programme.

“He eagerly awaits their report and has assured that the state government will diligently implement their findings and recommendations to bolster the state’s industrialisation, energy, security, and climate change status,” Gwarzo was quoted to have told the visitors.

The Director General of NIPSS, Prof  Ayo Omotayo,  said the delegation was in Kano State to engage with key stakeholders involved in industrialisation.

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