CSO frays Sanusi’s responses over graft allegation

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An anti-corruption coalition of civil society organisations under the aegis of Centre For Conscious Living Against Corruption (GLOCCOLAC) has frowned at the explanations so far offered by Emir of Kano, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi over allegations of misappropriation of the emirate’s funds.

Addressing journalists in Abuja Monday morning, Dr. Nwambu Gabriel,
Director General of the Centre said the explanations so far tendered have fallen short of the average expectations of his Centre and therefore urged the emir to come up clear on the matter.

GLOCCOLAC summarised its position that, “the response of Emir Muhammadu Sanusi that he inherited 1.9 billion as against the claims of the anti-corruption Commission is not quite satisfactory”.

Dr. Nwambu said the centre has been observing with keen interest, the recent happenings in Kano State as regards to the investigation of the Kano Emirate Council over an alleged misappropriation of 3.4 Billion Naira under the Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II.

He also recalled that the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission in its preliminary investigation report dated 31 May, 2019 addressed to the Secretary to the Kano State Government accused the Emir of spending the Kano Emirate Council’s funds indiscriminately without regards to due process and the rule of law.

“Based on this development, the Kano State Government issued a query to the Emir to respond to the allegations which he did. A publication of This Day Newspaper titled “Sanusi Tackles Kano Anti-graft Agency over Fraud Allegations” had succinctly provided the Emir’s position in the matter which raised our curiosity to organize this press conference.

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The response of Emir Muhammadu Sanusi that he inherited 1.9 billion as against the claims of the anti-corruption Commission is not quite satisfactory, the Centre maintained.

He wondered why the Commission made its position very clear that its investigation is on alleged misappropriation and questionable expenditures but not on the funds left behind by the Late Emir of Kano Alh. Ado Bayero but the Emir is yet to discountenance the allegations.

The rest of his speech reads:

“The claim of the Emir that he is not the Chief Accounting Officer of the Emirate and yet approves its expenditure is nothing but shying away from responsibility and further creates more suspicion on his role in the alleged misappropriation.

“The issue of budget and auditing of the account, where the anti-graft agency all provided evidence to support their claim that the Emir, being an international financial expert failed to act in accordance with such standard is equally yet to be discountenanced.

“The anti-corruption agency in its report cited the Financial Controller to have admitted that they approved their budget and corroborated it with the letter from the Kano State Ministry of Planning and Budget as well as from the Local Government Audit all pointed out that the Emirate Council failed in making the budgetary provisions and the auditing of the Council’s account. But the Emir’s response that they sent their budget to Kano State Ministry for Local Government can never stand in the face of those glaring pieces of evidence provided by the anti-graft agency.

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“The Emir also tried to justify the 1.4 Billion Naira spent on hotels and airline tickets as well as the 29 Million Naira for airtime in 2 years from the funds of the Emirate Council. These are public funds belonging to the State that accommodates the larger percentage of people living below the poverty line in the country.

“The issue of transfer of funds to companies not registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission is not also being addressed as the reply only stopped at the registration but not the alleged transfers. The ties of the said companies with some of the influential people in the Emirate was also not addressed.

“We also observed that the issue of the CCTV Cameras was the claim of the petitioners as contained in the report but not the findings of the anti-corruption Commission.

“Another concern which requires thorough investigation is the fact that the Emir appears to justify a transfer of about one hundred and five million naira into individual account of the Emirate staff, a technical staff. The Emir in his answer to the allegations failed to mention the purpose of such transfer from public funds to a staff individual account. No serious investigator will take this lightly especially with the Emir’s excuse that it is meant for direct labour, but failed to supply the particulars of the alleged direct labour expenditure.

“The Anti-Corruption Agency also claimed that one Rufa’I Buhari usually change dollars to Naira on behalf of the Emir through the Bureau de Change belonging to one Jazuli Sani (who was said to have died). The said Rufa’I makes cash withdrawals and makes direct transfer to Jazuli’s Bureau De Change. The Emir is still silent on that.

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“On the issue of alleged obstruction of investigation, the Emir seems to be comfortable, despite his stance against corruption, when his aides are avoiding anti-corruption investigation. What is the offence of the Commission in inviting whosoever is necessary in the course of its investigation? It got to the extent that the Commission had to withdraw its invitation with regards to certain individuals. This had further substantiated their claim of obstruction especially on its claim against the posting of its invitation letters on social media just to blackmail its integrity.

“Consequent to the present administration’s stand against corruption, it becomes pertinent that Emir Sanusi as an international financial officer and a responsible Nigerian we believe he is, submits himself to the due process of law and the Kano antigraft agency.

“It is worthy of note to mention here that of the 36 states of the Federation, Kano is the only state in Nigeria that has a state owned anti graft agency. It becomes imperative therefore that Governor Abdullahi Ganduje should ensure proper funding of the commission as well as facilitating the commission’s financial autonomy to ensure maximum efficiency in the discharge of its duties”.

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