BREAKING: Court kills investigation into Ganduje’s $million bribe

By Editor on 06/12/2018

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Nigerians may never know the whole truth about the alleged $5million bribe reportedly taken by Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, as a Kano High Court, on Thursday, barred the state House of Assembly, from further carrying out investigation on the matter.

The court, presided over by Justice A.T. Badamasi, in his ruling at the resumed sitting on the matter, upgraded his initial order for the maintenance of status quo to a restraining order on the Kano State House of Assembly Investigative Committee from further inquiry into the alleged sleaze, where a video clip that went viral, showed a supposed Ganduje, stuffing his agbada with wads of dollar notes.

The governor, had dismissed the clips as fake, saying that they were doctored videos, the handiwork of his political enemies, adding that he was neither losing sleep over the matter, nor having a rise in the blood pressure.

The order is sequel to a petition filed by Mohammed Zubir, on behalf of himself and Lawyers for Sustainable Democracy in Nigeria, praying the court to halt the investigation, on the ground that the Assembly, was not a law-enforcement agency.

Daily Nigeria, had a few weeks ago, released the three videos in succession, showing an obviously elated Ganjude stuffing his pockets with the money, said to be kickbacks from contractors handling projects in the state.

The publisher of the online platform, Jafar Jafar, was subsequently summoned by the House, where he stood by his story, insisting that the said videos were authentic, leaving the door open for the invitation of the governor for his testimony, before the court action stalled the investigation.

Nuraini Jimoh, lawyer to the plaintiff, had submitted that the House could not investigate the matter because it lacked the powers to investigate a criminal case, adding that the lawmakers only had the powers to make laws, establishing an anti-graft agency which, by law, can investigate such matter.

Aligning himself to the argument, the state Attorney-General, Ibrahim Muktar, who was joined in the suit as the third defendant, said by his office, he had no choice but to follow the law, saying he totally agreed that the investigation be left to the bodies responsible to inquire into criminal matters.

His words: “No power under section 128 (1) is given to the House of Assembly to investigate the case. Bribery can only be attributed to a crime. Section 128 (1) of the constitution gave the House of Assembly the powers to make laws establishing anti-corruption agencies, and not the powers to investigate criminal cases.

“It was a criminal trial or investigation that was being conducted by the House of Assembly. This is wrong because it is the statutory responsibility of the police to investigate crime.

“Members of the state House of Assembly are not experts in criminal investigation. They are not trained investigators. I submit that the House of Assembly has no capacity, whatsoever, to conduct criminal investigation because section 36 (5) and section 208 of the constitution gave the police the powers to investigate crime. So, section 128 of the constitution should not be in isolation on the issue before the Court.”

He argued further that the proceedings by the House Investigative Committee was not a fact-finding exercise as claimed by the defendants, but a criminal investigation, adding that, “in the interest of justice law says that House of Assembly has no right to conduct criminal investigation.

“The Kano state House of Assembly or any other state Assembly, including the National Assembly has no powers to engage in investigation of criminal allegation because it will lead to injustice against the person accused.”

He urged the Court to grant the applications filed by the plaintiff in the interest of justice.

Attempt by Mohammed Waziri to convince the court that the investigative panel was engaged in a fact-finding mission, and not investigation of criminal allegation, failed to sway him.

Waziri, had argued on behalf of the House: “There is no doubt that what the State House of Assembly is investigating is allegations of crime against the Governor, by doing so, they are exercising their power to expose crime—it is now for the judge to differentiate between crime and corruption.”

But, Badamasi held that the power of investigation by the state House of Assembly as contained in Section 128 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, “is not absolute, nor at large. It is restricted by sub-section two of the same Section.” 

He held that the content of Exhibit one which is the Invitation Letter to Governor Ganduje to appear before the seven-man investigative committee indicated that it was not set up to gather facts, but to investigate the criminal allegations against him, which the House has no power to do, adding that the powers of the House as contained in Section 128 is restricted to make laws setting up a panel that can investigate criminal allegation.

According to him, investigation of crime or criminal allegations is the responsibility of the executive arm through the police or any other anti-graft agency, as the House can only invite members of the public on matters that has to do with making laws.





Posted on December, 6 2018

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