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DOLLAR BRIBERY CASE: Federal Court reveals how Kano anti-graft agency let Ganduje off the hook

DOLLAR BRIBERY CASE: Federal Court reveals how Kano anti-graft agency let Ganduje off the hook

The Kano division of the Federal High Court in Nigeria has ruled that the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission (PCACC) had failed to do the right thing to ensure the proper investigation of former governor, Abdullahi Ganduje.

PCACC is struggling to conclude investigations into an alleged bribery video case against the ex-governor.

Some video clips were seen showing Ganduje allegedly stuffing dollars he collected from a supposed contractor into his flowing gown.

READ ALSO: Like Ganduje, Kano PCACC boss gets court protection from EFCC, ICPC, CCB probe

The PCACC, under its present chairman, was initially in denial of the videos, siding with the ex-governor that they were doctored. Muhuyi Magaji Rimingado, who was at the helm of affairs at the PCACC then, refused to do the needful, opting to dump the investigation.

He however had a disagreement with the ex-governor on another matter, leading to his removal from the PCACC. His successor, Mahmoud Balarabe, also did not see reasons to investigate the matter.

But after leaving All Progressive Congress (APC) and joining the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP), which is now the ruling party in Kano State, Rimingado was returned to the PCACC.

READ ALSO: Ganduje Ambushes Muhuyi Magaji, Mobilises Kano Assembly to Suspend Head of State Anti-Graft Agency  

He decided to investigate the bribery allegation against his former boss, and shifted his position about the authenticity of the videos. According to him, they were no longer doctored.

Ganduje however ran to the court to stall the investigation, filing a fundamental human rights case against PCACC and others, and asking the court to restrain the agency from arresting, investigating and inviting him over the alleged dollar video.

While delivering his judgement on Tuesday in Kano, Justice Abdullahi Liman explained that PCACC, being a state agency, has no business investigating an offense that falls under the federal law.

READ ALSO: Kano anti-graft agency boss Muhuyi Magaji gets bail in graft case

Justice Liman tends to be saying that the PCACC should have handed over the investigation to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), a federal anti-graft agency.

He, however, ruled that sections 8, 9(1) and 15 of the Kano State Public Compliant and Anti-Corruption Commission law (2008) as amended donated investigative powers to PCACC on corruption-related offences.

The caveat, according to him, was that PCACC’s investigative powers are limited to state offences.

Tuesday ruling appears to be controversial, given the reactions of lawyers to it.

READ ALSO: EFCC, CCB probe former Ganduje’s point man, Muhuyi Magaji Rimingado

Usman Umar Fari, who represented PCACC in the case, was quoted to have said his clients will appeal it, while Gaduje’s lawyer, Matthew Burkaa (SAN), was said to have hailed the court’s position that the commission could not investigate his client on a legislation that is federal.

Other lawyers hold conflicting positiona about the judgement.

Whatever the judgement of the appellate courts might be, it does not seem that Ganduje can totally escape investigation and prosecution. What the PCACC could not do, EFCC could.

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