Kano state Government may place the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammad Sanusi II on suspension to give way for “proper investigation” of the emirate council’s finances, Blueprint learnt at the weekend.
The idea of the suspension was said to be muted by some highly-placed politicians and elders from within and outside the state who have the ears of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. Blueprint had last week reported that some prominent northern leaders were putting pressure for Ganduje to depose the monarch following the latter’s recent outburst.
An agency of the state government, Kano state Public Complaints and Anticorruption Commission has, last week, commenced investigation of the emirate’s finances following allegations that over N4 billion was blown from the accounts of the emirate council within Sanusi’s three-year reign. Both the commission and the emirate council confirmed to Blueprint yesterday that the investigation was underway.
“There is legal advice before the governor that going by extant rules, and for unhindered access to information, key officials, including the emir must be suspended to allow for diligent investigation,” a source at the Kano Government House told our correspondent. Speaking to our reporter by phone, Walin Kano and the council’s finance controller, Alhaji Mahe Bashir Wali, confirmed kick- starting of the probe, saying, however, that the council had no further information regarding the investigation. “It is true. The commission has written to us demanding for the treasurer and the council’s secretary to appear before it. We don’t have any other details apart from the rumours making rounds”. Wali, however, debunk suggestions of embezzlement of the emirate’s finances. “To the best of my knowledge, I believe, there is no misappropriation of funds. But we will wait to see what they are digging,” he said.
Blueprint gathered that the probe followed a petition written to the commission after an online newspaper, Daily Nigerian, had published details of transactions on the emirate’s bank accounts, alleging that the emir had frittered away over N4bn he met in the accounts to finance a flamboyant lifestyle. The publication, which quoted copiously from transactions on the council’s accounts, alleged that most of the money was used to pay for luxury cars, chattered flights, internet and phone bills, among others. The state’s anti-graft commission, according to sources in government, had requested for permission of the state governor to investigate the petition due to the sensitive nature of the case.
“The governor did not hesitate in giving his nod for the investigation. You know some are expressing reservations because of likely political implications of the step but the governor said he would not hinder the commission from doing its work. He has done it in the past by having people close to him probed and prosecuted”. A senior staff of the commission informed Blueprint that the agency may, in line of its tradition, explore its working relation with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) after preliminary investigation.
“If we see any prima facie case, we will refer the matter to EFCC so that we can have more thorough and dispassionate work and to also ease ourselves likely pressure and interference which is already mounting,” he said. The Walin Kano, however, declined to comment on the alleged plan to suspend the emir and some officials, saying “I cannot pre-empt what is not before us. We will just wait. I have nothing to say on that.”