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Why Kano government demanded transfer of Ganduje’s corruption case to another court

Why Kano government demanded transfer of Ganduje’s corruption case to another court

The Chief Judge (CJ) of Kano State, Justice Dije Abdu Aboki, has transferred the corruption case involving the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, and seven others, to another court.

This followed a request by Kano State government to remove the case from Kano High Court 4 sitting at Audu Bako presided by Justice Usman Malam Na’abba.

The CJ, after duly considering the request, transferred the case to Court 7 at Miller Road presided by Justice Amina Adamu Aliyu.

Confirming the development, the Public Relations Officer of the Kano State High Court, Baba Jibo Ibrahim said, “The office of the CJ of the state has the power to direct and transfer a case at any stage so far it has not reached the level of judgement.”

He added that the new court has the jurisdiction to set date for the continuation of the case.

Ganduje, wife, son and five others were charged with an eight-count bordering on bribery, diversion and misappropriation of funds, among others.

READ ALSO:

FINANCIAL CRIMES: Why Ganduje can’t be arraigned as scheduled

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Ganduje arraignment, Kano government and presidency involvement

Aside from Ganduje and family members, other parties in the suit are Jibrilla Muhammad, Lamash Properties Ltd, Safari Textiles Ltd and Lesage General Enterprises.

The state government, in the criminal suit filed against the respondents, said it has assembled 15 witnesses to testify against them in its eight-count charges.

Reason for transfer

Nigerian Sketch’s sources at the state High Court revealed that the state government was not comfortable with what they called the ‘predisposition of Justice Na’abba’ as it concerns cases emanating from the Kano Public Complaint and Anticorruption Commission (PCACC) led by Muhuyi Magaji Rimingado.

And why was that?

The government referred to a previous case involving the PCACC and Kano’s former Accountant General under Ganduje, Aisha Bello, in which Justice Na’abba faulted the operations of the PCACC under Muhuyi Magaji and came down heavily on the commission’s chairman.

The case is being challenged at the Court of Appeal at the moment.

PCACC investigated the management of the state’s finances under Aisha including contracts payment, salary payments and alleged salary deductions among others at the time.

Since Ganduje’s present corruption case emanated from the PCACC that is still being led by the same Muhuyi Magaji, the state government felt Justice Na’abba may have a ‘preconceived notion’ about the PCACC chairman, and therefore requested for a transfer to another judge.

Substituted service impasse

At the last adjourned date on April, 29,2024, Justice Na’abba was undecided on the impasse of service of criminal charge sheet on Ganduje, his wife, Hafsat Umar Ganduje and son, Umar Abdullahi Umar, among others.

READ ALSO: FINANCIAL CRIMES: Why Ganduje can’t be arraigned as scheduled

Ganduje could not be arraigned on Wednesday, the 18th of April, 2024, due to lack of service of the charge sheet on him. Reports said he was out of the country at the time.

The state government made an application before Justice Na’abba to serve Ganduje through substituted means, but the court could not rule on the application fearing a clash with a constitutional provision which a lawyer to the 6th defendant, Nureini Jimoh, SAN raised.

So far, he 6th defendant was the only one who has been represented in the case by a lawyer.

When the court reconvened on Monday, the 29th of April, 2024, the presiding judge directed all parties to address the court on the propriety of serving a charge sheet through substituted means in a criminal trial.

Lead counsel for the prosecution, Adeola Adedife, SAN argued that the criminal charge shhet can be effected by substituted means as provided by section 378(5) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) of Kano State 2019.

He elaborated that the provision of section 378(5) allows an exparte application to be brought before the court to seek for leave to allow service on the defendant through his lawyer, servants, adult in his house or in any manner the court may deem fit.

He said this provision was made to cure the mischief in the previous laws that do not give room for service through substituted means in criminal trials.

READ ALSO: Ganduje arraignment, Kano government and presidency involvement

In his response, Jimoh, argued that the provision of section 378, sub 5 of ACJL Kano State, 2019 was unconstitutional because service in criminal summon falls under the purview of the National Assembly, referring to section 43 of constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He submitted that where a State House of Assembly makes law in that regard, it was ultra vires.

He therefore urged the court to reject any application exparte, orally or otherwise behind the defendants, noting that it is contrary to the provision of constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Justice Na’abba thereafter fixed the 16th May, 2024 (today) to deliver ruling on whether it is appropriate to serve Ganduje, his wife, son and other defendants in the criminal case with court processes through substituted means.

That has however been overtaken by the transfer of the case from his court to another.

Charges 

The charges against Ganduje are stated below:

CHARGE 1

That you, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje sometime between the period of January 10th 2016 or thereabout, at Kano in 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 (Two Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) being a benefit for yourself from one of the beneficiaries of contracts awarded 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

CHARGE 2

That you, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje Sometime between the period of February 10″ 2017 or thereabout, 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 agreed to do or caused to be done an illegal act, to wit, dishonestly and/or corruptly to your own advantage collected a kickback of the sum of $ 213,000 (Two Hundred And Thirteen Thousand United States dollars) being money generated from people and entities seeking or holing the execution of Kano State Government contact and or project for the remodelling of the Kantin Kwari textile market as a bribe through one of the contractors (agent) thereby committing 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 No2 of 2009, Laws of Kano State of Nigeria.

CHARGE 3

That you, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje Sometime between the period of September 2020 and March 2021 or thereabout, at Kano in the Kano Judicial Division, together with one Hafsat Umar (your spouse) and Abubakar Bawuro, a Businessman, Safari Textile Ltd, a limited liability company, wholly owned and maintained the 3rd Defendant, agreed to do an illegal act to wit: dishonestly converted to your own use the sum of N1,376,000,000.00 (One Billion Three Hundred and seventy-six million Naira) through account No. 7085982019 belonging to the 3rd Defendant being monies earmarked and approved for the purchase and supply of face marks and other hospitals equipment for the health sector, thereby causing wrongful loss to the people and 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.

CHARGE 4

That you, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Sometime between the period of September 2020 and January 2022 or thereabout, at Kano in the Kano Judicial Division, together with one Hafsat Umar (your spouse) and Abubakar Bawuro, a Businessman, Safari Textile Ltd, a limited liability company, while entrusted with the sum of N1,376,000,000.00 (One Billion Three Hundred and seventy-Six million Naira) or dominion over the said sum, earmarked for the purchase and supply of face masks and other hospital equipment honestly misappropriated and/or converted the said sum to your own use through account No. 7085982019 belonging to the 3d defendant, thereby jointly committed the offence of Criminal Breach of Trust contrary to section 311 and punishable under section 312 of The penal code (as amended) CAP,105, Vol.2. The Laws of Kano State of Nigeria, 1991

CHARGE 5

That you, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje Sometime between the period march of 2021 or there about, at Kano in the Kano Judicial Division, while serving as the Governor and being a public servant in the government of Kano State for your own benefit and that of your immediate family conspire with the 4th defendant (Umar Abdullahi Umar) being your biological son using 6 defendants (Lamash Properties Ltd) a company owned and or operated by members of your family including the 4h defendant and dishonestly allocated 501 (five hundred and one) high-density plots of lands you hold in trust for the benefit all Nigerians at Zawachiki layout No. TP/KNUPDI256B in the name of 6 defendant company under the pretext of site and services arrangement in the land compulsory acquired by you being the Governor of Kano State from destitute members of the public (peasant farmers) were it was sold and the proceed part of which the sum of N700,000,000.00 (Seven Hundred Million Naira) was deposited in the account of Bureau de change operator vision Steel link Ltd No. Domicile at Access Bank where dollar equivalent was given to the 4h defendant to the detriment of the people and government of Kano State 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.

CHARGE 6

That you, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje Sometime between the period march of 2021 or thereabout, at Kano in the Kano Judicial Division, while serving as the Governor and being a public servant in the government of Kano State for your own benefit and that of your immediate family conspire with the 4th defendant Umar Abdullahi Umar, being your biological son using 6 defendants Lamash Properties Ltd a company substantially owned and or operated by members of your family including the 4th defendant and dishonestly allocated 501 (five hundred and one) high-density plots of lands you hold in trust for the benefit of all Nigerians at Zawachiki layout No. TP/KNUPDA256B in the name of 6h defendant company under the pretext of site and services arrangement in the land compulsory acquired by you as a governor of Kano state from destitute members of the public (peasant farmers) which was sold and the proceeds, the sum of #700,000,000.00 (Seven Hundred Million Naira) was deposited in the account of Bureau de change operator vision Steel link Ltd No. 7816362026 Domicile at FCMB where dollar equivalent was given to the 4h defendant thereby agreed to do or caused to be done an illegal act, to wit, dishonestly and/or corruptly to your own advantage collected a kickback of the sum of $ 213,000 (Two Hundred And Thirteen Thousand United States dollars) being money generated from people and entities seeking or holing the execution of Kano State Government contact and or project for the remodelling of Kantin Kwari textile market as a bribe through one of the contractors (agent) thereby committing 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 No2 of 2009, Laws of Kano State of Nigeria.

CHARGE 7

That you, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje Sometime between the period of September 2020 and March 2021 or thereabout, at Kano in the Kano Judicial Division, while serving as the Governor and being a public servant in the government of Kano State for your own benefit and that of your immediate family conspire with the Sth” defendant Jibrilla Muhammad also a public servant in the government of Kano State served as the managing director of Kano State Investment and Properties Ltd using the 8 defendant Lesage General Enterprise Ltd a company wholly owned and or maintain by your immediate family to convert the Kano state government property known as Kano cotton ginnery located at Challawa area of Kano State that was initially valued at #750,000,000.00 (seven hundred million Naira) purportedly at the discounted rate of three hundred and twenty million Naira) the amount which payment was not evident causing wrongful loss to the people and government of Kano State 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.

CHARGE 8

That you, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje Sometime between the period of September 2020 and March 2021 or thereabout, at Kano in the Kano Judicial Division, while serving as the Governor and being a public servant in the government of Kano State for your own benefit and that of your immediate family conspire with the Sthd defendant Jibrilla Muhammad also a public servant in the government of Kano State served as the managing director of Kano State Investment and Properties Ltd using the 8 defendant Lesage General Enterprise Ltd a company wholly owned and or maintain by your immediate family to convert the Kano state government property known as Kano cotton ginnery located at the Challawa area of Kano State was initially valued at #750,000,000.00 (seven hundred million Naira) purportedly at the discounted rate of three hundred and twenty million Naira) the amount which payment was not actually made and documented thereby causing wrongful loss to the people and government of Kano State thereby committed the offence of criminal breach of trust contrary to section 311 read together with section 79, and punishable under section 315 of the Penal Code( as amended), CAP, 105, Vol.2 .The Laws of the Kano State of Nigeria 1991.

The new court is expected to fix a new date for the commencement of the case.

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