By Jaafar Jaafar
The Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, has appeared in a trove of video clips receiving bribe, amounting to about $5million from contractors in the state.
Multiple contractors who spoke with DAILY NIGERIAN on the condition of anonymity said the governor personally receives from 15 to 25 percent kickbacks for every project executed in the state.
The sting operation to capture the governor on camera began two years ago when one of the contractors agreed with DAILY NIGERIAN request to plant spy camera on his kaftan lapel while offering the bribe.
During about 10 months efforts to capture the bribe giving/taking scenes, the governor’s face and body were clearly captured in nine clips, while six others did not clearly reveal the governor’s face. About $5m dollars were delivered to the governor during the sting operation.
One of the contractors who preferred not to be named said the reason he collaborated with DAILY NIGERIAN was to expose corruption and bring sanity to the country.
Watch the video here:
“If my aim is to blackmail or extort the governor, I would have used the videos get over a billion settlement or force the governor to pay the hundreds of millions of naira the state is owing my company or force him to pay back all the money I paid him as kickbacks,” he said.
“We believe if public office holders are exposed, there will be sanity in the system even if I will not be the beneficiary in future.”
In August, Mr Ganduje signed an executive order on Open Government Partnership, OGP, directing all ministries, departments and agencies to fully implement the principles.
“Kano State has joined the Open Government Partnership to deepen institutional reforms, fight corruption, and grant citizens’ right of access to public records and information and to enable citizens to effectively participate in governance,” Mr Ganduje said.
“On the premise of answering the call of President Muhammadu Buhari, that Nigeria must fight corruption to a standstill, Ganduje becomes very committed in the OGP project.”
Anti-corruption activist, Kabir Dakata, who also watched the video before its release to the public, said it was ironic that a governor who always preaches the gospel anti-corruption is found stealing public funds.
Presidency sources familiar with the situation said two security agencies have been asked by President Muhammadu Buhari to file a report on the video and submit to him in earnest.
The report, according to sources, involves analysis on the audiovisual contents of the clips, backgrounds and sequence, and then give recommendations to the president.
The sources told DAILY NIGERIAN that the president would act on the report as soon the two agencies submit the report.
The many scandals of Ganduje
The governor’s antics did not stop with contractors alone as party candidature in the state was sold to the highest bidder.
Inside sources said a House of Reps aspirant who wants his ticket back on the platform of APC had to “settle” the governor’s agents and buy a new car to his influential wife.
Tax consultancy companies linked to the governor’s cronies are also milking the state dry as they make 25 to 30 percent commission on every kobo generated.
The masterplan of Kano is currently under the governor’s knife as every available space for recreation or relaxation in the state had been sold to the highest bidder since the governor chose to personally be in charge of the Lands ministry.
From shelterbelts at Kundila and Tarauni, to Kano City Wall, Mallam Kato Square and several parks dotted across the state, every available space is converted to plots.
A legal practitioner, Adam Bashir, said collecting bribe or kickback is a criminal offence, noting that if found guilty in court, the governor may serve years of jail term and or punitive fine.
He also said that as public officer immune to prosecution, Mr Ganduje’s action is an impeachable offence.
“In public offices, kickbacks can take a form where a public office holder conspired with a contractor to either inflate a contract sum or construct lesser quality work from the one stipulated, with the understanding that the surplus be personally paid to him.
“Under the Nigerian Penal Laws, kickbacks involving government officials or funds provided by the government are illegal. Kickbacks between a contractor and a government official or government employee are prosecuted under the Penal Code Laws of Northern Nigeria, Criminal code Laws, Economic and financial crimes Commission Act, Money Laundering Act, Procurement Act, etc,” he said.
On whether digital/electronic evidence is admissible in court, the lawyer responded in the affirmative, citing sections of the law.
“Digital device is defined as a physical unit of equipment that contains a computer or microcontroller. Today a lot of devices are digital such as Spy Cameras, Smartphone, tablets and smartwatches.
“Electronic devises covers a lot of items but the most important aspect of electronic devices is that which has to do with computer-generated evidence because as at today, most electronic devices are computer driven, and more so, when Section 2 of the evidence Act 2011 states that “for the avoidance of doubt, all evidence given in accordance with Section 1 shall unless excluded in accordance with this or any other Act, or any other legislation validly in force in Nigeria, be admissible in judicial proceedings in which this Act applies, provided that admissibility of such evidence shall be subject to all such conditions as may be specified in each case by or under this Act”.
“Section 1 of the Evidence Act 2011 states that: “evidence may be given in any suit or proceedings, of the existence or non-existence of every fact in issue and of such other facts as are hereafter declared to be relevant and of no other ….”.
“The admissibility of statements in documents produced by computers is dealt with under Section 84 of the Evidence Act, 2011, but before going further, it is important to know, the definition of “document” as recognized under the Evidence Act.
“By virtue of the provision of Section 258 of the Evidence Act, 2011, a document is defined as including any device by means of which information is recorded, stored or retrievable including computer output. This section which defines document is all-encompassing as it mentioned a lot of things.
“Financial and economic crimes for which various punishments are prescribed under the law include financial malpractices, aiding and abetting acts of terrorism, giving false information, possessing, retaining, using, concealing and converting the proceeds of a financial or economic crime, etc.
“And some of the punishments for the above paragraph financial and economic crimes include terms of imprisonmentwhich range from 2, 3, 7, 10 and 14years imprisonment (depending on the count charge and offenses convicted on), fines equivalent to one hundred per cent (100%) of the value of the proceeds of the financial or economic crime; or to both the term of imprisonment and the punitive fine.
“All the assets and properties derived or acquired from any economic or financial crime, including the international passports of the offenders, are liable to forfeiture or confiscation. Where such derived or acquired asset or property is in a foreign country, the asset or property shall be subject to any treaty or arrangement that Nigeria has with such a foreign country for the repatriation of the proceeds of any financial or economic crime,” he added.
Kano Government’s Response
Even before the release of the video, the state government had dismissed it as “cloned” document meant to blackmail and extort the governor.
“We wish to state that there is no iota of truth to these allegations and if indeed there is any such alleged video, it is at best cloned,” the Kano state commissioner for information, Muhammad Garba, said in a statement.
“The government of Kano state is taking this matter seriously, and will exploit every appropriate and legal avenue to ensure that it gets to the root of the matter and the perpetrators are brought to book”.
By Daily Nigerian