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The Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission has opened an investigation into the accounts of the Kano Emirate Council over allegations of ‘questionable expenditures’ running into billions of naira over a short period of time, Daily Trust on Sunday gathered yesterday.
As part of the probe, the Emirate Council’s secretary and treasurer have been summoned to shed light on how over N4billion was expended and to present legal instruments backing the expenditure, a source at the anti-corruption agency disclosed, according to dailytrust.com.ng
The staff was asked to be at the commission’s office on May 2, 2017, he said.
The official, who does not want to be named because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, said the investigation was prompted by petitions to the commission from members of the public.
He said the petitioners were concerned about the “humongous amount” that was reported to have been spent by the Kano Emirate between 2014 and early this year.
The commission is wading into the matter to establish whether or not Sections 120, 121 of the Constitution and Section 26 of the Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission Law 2008 (amended) of the Kano State, dealing with public expenditure have been complied with, he said.
“We are not accusing anybody of misappropriation, rather we want to be sure of the legality of what they did. The late Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, left about N4billion in the Emirate Council’s account when he died in 2014 and now all that is gone. So we want to see if they have the authority to spend such humongous amount because the money was deducted from local governments’ account. It is going to be a discreet investigation
“This is just the starting point. We have sent an invitation to the Emirate Council’s secretary and the treasurer to come and provide the constitutional backing they relied on to make questionable expenditures of N4billion within such a short period.
“The investigation will want to find out: What necessitated the spending? What was the constitutional backing for it?
“We have asked them to come with the certified true copies of their cash book, evidencing control of expenditures, payment vouchers and any other relevant financial document of the council that will assist the investigation,” he said.
Daily Trust on Sunday learnt that the invitation letter was signed by the commission’s Director of Operations, CSP S.A Gusau, on behalf of its chairman, Muhyi Magaji. The source said after the investigation, they would make their findings public and make recommendations to the state government.
He said they got the encouragement to probe the council from a visit the management of the commission paid Emir Mahammadu Sanusi II in connection to a case of land misappropriation against one of the district heads in the state.
The official said the emir, after supporting the probe against his lieutenant, advised them not to spare anyone in the council that commits any financial infraction, including the emir himself. “That is why we will not relent in this case. We got the district head to refund N8million to the complainants, in the other case,” he said.
Another source at the anti-corruption agency confirmed the investigation, saying they had received petitions showing huge amounts being spent from the palace account on daily basis.
“It may interest you to know that on just a single day, a transfer of N150m or N200m was made from the council’s account. This is outrageous and questionable.”
The chairman of the public complaints and anti-corruption commission, Magaji, declined comment when Daily Trust on Sunday contacted him.
However, the state’s Commissioner for Information, Malam Muhammadu Garba, confirmed that the investigation had been launched, linking it to a petition by some individuals.
Asked if the state government had a hand in the matter, Garba said: “Government has no hand whatsoever in the matter. The investigation is being conducted without the consent of government. Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has respect for traditional institutions.
“The probe is entirely something independent. I think the investigation is based on a petition written to the commission by some individuals. So government has no hand in it.”
The Walin Kano, Alhaji Mahe Bashir Wali, confirmed receipt of the invitation letter from the anti-corruption commission.
“The commission is inviting the treasurer and secretary of the council to appear before it on May 3, 2017,” he said.
He, therefore, said it would be too early for the council to state its position on the matter since the reasons behind the invitation were not disclosed.
“But by the time the council knows the nature of the case then it will make its position known to the public. I can assure you we will do that when it is appropriate,” he said.
The Kano Emirate Council’s expenditures became the dominant issues on many online platforms in Nigeria last week, after an online medium, Daily Nigerian, reported that billions of naira had been withdrawn from them within two years.