Bribery Allegation: Ganduje’s Presentation At The Kano State Assembly

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Proceedings of  Kano state House of Assembly Baffa Babba Dan Agundi-led seven-man Investigative Committee on alleged bribery allegation against Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, during the appearance of Governor Ganduje who was represented by the state Commissioner for Information, Malam Muhammad Garba, held at the state Assembly Chambers on Friday, November 2, 2018

 

Excerpts:

 

Committee’s chairman, Dan Agundi:

I am just being informed that the Commissioner of Information is representing the Governor to tender his written response to this Committee. We all know that any Committee, Tribunal or what have you has the right to set up its rule on how it is going to operate; and it is not in the breach of any rules, either by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or the Rules of this House to accept representation for any witness who is wishes to send his representation in writing or to appear in person.

 

I think there is a Supreme Court ruling to that effect. I stand to be guided by the lawyers in the House today. So, I think it is in order for us to start the business of the day by welcoming the representative of His Excellency and the Commissioner of Information. You are highly welcomed to the Kano state House of Assembly; and this Investigative Committee.

 

Does the representative of Jafar Jafar or the Daily Nigeria present here. Since they are not here, the Honourable Commissioner for Information, we give you the opportunity of knowing why you are , the Honourable Commissioner for Information.

 

Governor Ganduje’s representative and Commissioner of Information, Muhammad Garba:

The Chief Whip and the Deputy Chief Whip, the chairman of this very very important and respected Committee, other members of the Committee, my colleague, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice. Other representatives of the Civil Society Organizations that are here, my constituency, the media and other Distinguished invited guests that are here, my name is Malam Muhammad Garba, I am the Commissioner of Information, Youths and Culture, Kano state. I am here to formally represent His Excellency, the Executive Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje as you rightly pointed out, I so submit, Mr. Chairman.

 

Committee’s chairman, Dan Agundi:

 

Honourable Commissioner, do you have anything with you to tender to this Committee?

 

Governor Ganduje’s representative and Commissioner of Information, Muhammad Garba:

Yes, first and foremost, we were able to read the invitation letter that was extended to His Excellency, we took critical analysis of the content of the letter and we are made to understand that there are about three options as you rightly pointed out—either by His Excellency to respond in writing to the allegation or His Excellency can have the privilege of responding at the same time, send a representation. At the last paragraph of the letter to His Excellency, there was also an option for His Excellency to appear with some group of lawyers.

But because of the high respect which His Excellency has to the House of Assembly and the confidence he has in terms of the Committee doing justice the issue, His Excellency, the Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje decided to go for the second option which is to send me, that is why I am here as well as to formally present his response before the Committee.

 

Committee’s chairman, Dan Agundi:

Do you have anything in writing; of course, we cannot go into cross-examination with you. We can only receive a written response from the Governor, and that is what we can work with because you are not the Governor. The accusation is directly against him. So sending his representation like we said in the letter will be a in writing and we accept it from you if you tender it before the Committee. There are so many questions you may not be able to answer because you are not the one who is being accused of the bribery allegation against the Governor.  So, the right thing for you to do is that if you are for him, we believe you should have something in writing which was said in the letter for us to have something to work with, if you don’t have that, I think I am sure we should request you that we accept your representation and we thank you most sincerely for being here on behalf of the Governor. We can at any time receive your writing response. But if you have that, please, let us hear from you, but if you don’t have that, I think we should get to the next line of action.

 

Governor Ganduje’s representative and Commissioner for Information, Muhammad Garba:

 

 

 

Mr. Chairman, as I said in course of my presentation, I am representing His Excellency, as well as to make a formal presentation. So, I want to say that in the name of Allah, the Almighty, it is my pleasure and privilege to formally present this document as an official respond by His Excellency on the allegation.

Committee’s chairman, Dan Agundi:

Can you read it? If you can, read it before you present it.

Governor Ganduje’s representative and Commissioner for Information, Muhammad Garba:

Re: invitation to respond to a bribery allegation against His Excellency, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.

Your Correspondence No: KMHA/ADMIN/COM/Vol.1/12 dated 31st October 2018: I have the instruction of His Excellency, the Governor of Kano state, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje (OFR) to write as follows:

1.That His Excellency, the Governor of Kano state categorically and unequivocally denied the allegation of collecting bribe from contractors as alleged by the publisher of the online newspaper, Daily Nigerian.

2.That His Excellency, the Governor of Kano state did not collect, has not collected and will never collect bribe from anybody whosoever and for whatever purposes.

3.That the allegation levelled against him is injurious falsehood designed purposely to tarnish his long-established good reputation, reduce his popularity for some political opponents to take undue advantage in the forth-coming general election.

4.That caution should be exercised by handling this allegation putting into consideration the antecedents of the accuser on similar accusations against leaders and rulers in the state, particularly the allegation made against the former Governor of Kano state, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau and the Sarkin Kano, Malam Muhammad Sanusi 11, which turned out to be false accusation.

 

Your Faithfully,

 

Malam Muhammad Garba

 

Commissioner for Information Kano state,

 

For the Governor

 

I so submit.

 

Committee Chairman, Dan Agundi:

 

Thank you, Commissioner for Information. Can you tender the letter?

 

Representative of Ganduje, Commissioner for Information, Malam Muhammad Garba:

 

Yes, Mr. Chairman. I tender the letter.

 

Committee’s chairman, Dan Agundi:

The Attorney-General, I don’t know if you have anything to  say on behalf of the public and the Government of Kano state?

 

Ibrahim Muktar, Attorney-General:

Thank you Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman Sir, distinguish members of the Committee, distinguished members of the press and other representatives of different Civil Society Organizations, good morning. Mr chairman, I just have to show my appreciation with way the Committee is conduction this proceedings which shows fairness to everybody, fairness to the public, fairness to the accuser, and fairness to the person being accused—that is the Governor of Kano state.

This concept of fair hearing can be seen right from day one when commenced the proceedings till today. We have seen transparency in everything. We have seen fair treatment about the parties concerned. So, we have appreciated on behalf of the general public. I just want to draw the attention of the House probably to the way your information is being taken out to the media which is very important.

Just this morning when I was coming to this particular meeting, I had a reporter reporting that only a single member out of the seven members of the Committee is around—that only one member of the Committee is available. All other members are not available. This was a live broadcast of one of the local radio stations in the state. When I came in, to my surprise, I see all the members sitting and waiting for the parties.

Secondly, the way this invitation letter which was sent to His Excellency was reported was not good. But the way the letter was written showed fairness, it gave options as rightly stated by the Hon. Commissioner of Information. Several option were given either for His Excellency to send his representative, right formally to the Committee or appear in person together with his lawyers, but the way it was reported that Governor has only one option and that is for him to appear before this Committee. And with due respect Mr. Chairman, this is mischievous because if the Governor fails to appear today in person, that means the message to the general public is that the Governor is in contempt of request made by the Committee. So I am just drawing the attention of the chairman and members of the Committee to this because some people are trying to tamper with the way you are conducting your fair and transparent proceedings. They do this in order to create a mischief and I am sure that you are not part of it with the way it is transmitted by some mischievous persons. Thank you Mr. Chairman.

 

Ganduje’s Lawyer, Mohammed Yakasai:

Mr. Chairman, I am the personal Counsel to His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kano state. Mr. Chairman, I want to use this opportunity to inform the Committee that as Counsel to His Excellency,  we are so far satisfied with the conduct of the proceedings. Though my client has several options under the constitution, this is public hearing, and this is Kano state; and my client has sent a representative and he has sent a written response to the allegation levelled against him. The lawyers in the House will tell you that he has every right not to appear in person. As far as the media is concerned, I am informing the media that journalism is guided by ethics, it is guided by rules and we have to play by the rules of the game. There have been several publications which we can take up media houses for defamation of character, but we chose not to do that, we chose not to go to court because this is public hearing. The accuser came and stated his own part, and His Excellency has made his presentation. We are so far satisfied and I thank you for the audience given to me.

 

Committee’s chairman, Dan Agundi:

I thank you for your observation. We are here for the proceedings because we are not hearing what is happening in the radio stations. You see, in a situation like this you don’t say what will happen or what people will perceive or what kind of mischief will be going on, but the most important thing is for this Committee to do what is right. As you rightly said Allah is seeing what we are doing. We have promised ourselves, we have promised the people of Kano state that we are going to be fair and just to everybody. Therefore, we will be fair to the accuser, the accused and the general public. It is very unfortunate for any media station to take something out and say what is not correct. We were here at exactly 10 a.m because we said we were going to meet at 10 a.m. and we were at 10 o’clock on the dot. We started the programme right away and we don’t worry about whoever or which radio station is out to make any mischief action or send wrong information to the public for his personal reasons.

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