GANDUJE/EMIR OF KANO’S RIFT DEEPENS OVER GOVT’S ACQUISITION OF LAND BELONGING TO KANO EMIRATE

The Emir of Kano, Malam Muhammadu Sanusi ll, is facing fresh investigation by the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission over alleged sale of landed properties belonging to the Kano Emirate Council, Daily Trust gathered.

Documents obtained by our reporter showed that the emirate entered a joint venture partnership with a private firm, Capital Properties Nigeria Limited (CPNL), for the development of one of the lands known as (Gandun Sarki) at Hotoro, in Nassarawa Local Government Area of the state. The deal with CPNL was reached through a six-member committee set up by the emirate under the chairmanship of Jarman Kano, Professor Isa Hashim to coordinate the transaction.

However, the commission told Daily Trust that it has arrested two members of the committee for “allegedly collecting N20m kickbacks and allegedly fronting for the emir and would be charged to court for extortion and collecting gratification.”

When contacted, the chairman of the committee told our reporter that only the Kano Emirate Council could comment on the issue. The emirate has not yet responded to our request for comment.

This fresh investigation is coming few days after the Supreme Court affirmed Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje’s victory. The governor has been at loggerhead with Emir Sanusi and many see this as a continuation of the initial crisis that led to the creation of additional four new emirates in the state. Gandun Sarki Gandun Sarki, according to tradition, is a farmland set aside by the emirate across the state for annual farming activities.

Apart from the Hotoro property, the emirate was also alleged to have sold other properties located at Bubbugaje in Kumbotso Local Government Area of the state. It was alleged that the Gandun Sarki in Bubbugaje was sold to CPNL at the cost of N70m. It was further alleged that 406 plots were curved out and sold at the rate of N1.1m and N360,000 per plot depending on its size. Daily Trust also gathered that the N70m realised from the Gandun Sarki in Bubbugaje was allegedly paid to the emirate’s official account after a deal was concluded between the company and the Professor Hashim-led committee.

However, the Gandun Sarki in Hotoro was allegedly sold at N80m but only N55m was said to have been paid to the emirate. ‘Emir Sanusi is the target’ Confirming the development to Daily Trust, the Director, Special Assignment/Communication Adviser of the commission, Malam Usman Bello, said the anti-corruption agency had already launched investigation into the alleged ‘missing’ properties.

Bello said that anyone implicated, no matter how highly placed, in the alleged illegal sale of the public properties, would be charged to court for alleged diversion and conversion of public properties under Section 26 of the commission’s law. He explained that the commission had invited members of the committee that included Makaman Kano, Ibrahim Sarki Makama, Alhaji Ali Ben Musa, Alhaji Ahmed Abbas Satatima, Alhaji Mustapha Yahaya (Dan Isan Lapai) and Sarkin Shanun Kano, Alhaji Shehu Muhammad. “The Treasurer, Alhaji Ahmed Abbas Satatima, has been arrested by the commission, while waiting for the responses of other members of the committee who are also expected to appear before the commission,” he said. He added that the commission has succeeded in preventing the emirate from selling four other Gandun Sarki properties in Giwaran, Madadin-Taba, Gogel and Madarin villages, all in Warawa Local Government Area of the state.

Emirate/Ganduje govt sold Eid Ground Construction on-going on land allegedly sold by the Kano Emirate While the anti-corruption is busy investigating the emir’s handling of Gandun Sarki, some people in the state accused it of turning a blind eye to a portion of the lucrative Kofar Mata annual Eid prayer ground that was sold a few years ago. The popular Eid ground located close to the Kwari market in Kano metropolis was shared by the emirate and Ganduje’s government during their heyday. While some plots were sold to private individuals, others were allegedly shared to governing APC politicians and top government officials.

The Executive Director Centre for Awareness on Justice and Accountability (CADA), Comrade Sa’idu Dakata, told Daily Trust that by law, the commission has a right to investigate the emir, his council or any other government agency, but it shouldn’t be a one-way affair. “We would like them to also investigate the alleged sharing of Eid prayer ground to politicians and government officials and prosecute all those responsible,” he said. Asked why the commission did not investigate the encroachment and sale of a portion of Kofar Mata Eid-el prayer ground, Bello said, “You are talking of two different things. In the case of Kofar Mata Eid-el prayer ground, due processes were duly followed as all government agencies saddled with responsibilities of handling land issue were involved.

Things were done in accordance with the law. “Had it been the emirate council followed the same method and involved all the relevant agencies in handling the Gandun Sarki properties, I can assure you the issue of investigating this matter will not even arise. But on the contrary, the emirate council was rather trying to hide this issue under the carpet in order to cover its wrongdoings.”

The commission had on the 3rd January, 2020, written to the Kano Emirate Council, requesting it to furnish the commission with list of all land reserved as Gandun Sarki, its size and location. However, the emirate council through its solicitor, Dikko & Mahmoud in a letter dated January 8, 2020, informed the commission that its client could not respond to the commission’s request because of a pending case that was before a Kano High Court No 10 challenging the powers of the commission to investigate crime and affairs of the Kano Emirate Council. “In the suit the powers of your commission to investigate crime and investigate affairs of the Kano Emirate Council was challenged. The court ordered parties to maintain status quo ante bellum duly and properly served on you,” the letter reads. But in its response, the commission notified the solicitor of the emirate that in a letter dated January 10, 2020 that the request for the list of all land served as Gandun Sarki was as a result of complaints received by the commission over alleged encroachment of some reserved land in some local government area across the state which contravened Section 25 of the commission’s law.

“Similar letter was sent to all the five emirate councils in the state. Therefore, your letter under reference is nothing but an attempt to undermine this institution under the guise of an existing legal action which has nothing to do with the case of (Gandun Sarkin). “It is therefore, important as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, who indeed knows the importance of the rule of law in the society to advise your clients to always submit themselves to the due process of law and in the instance case, respond to our request, otherwise, we will not hesitate to take further step to compel them to do so in accordance with the law,” the letter stated.

The anti-corruption agency, Daily Trust gathered, changed its earlier decision to charge the chairman of the committee alongside other members to court. Efforts to get reaction from the Kano Emirate Council proved abortive, as all calls put to phone numbers of the chief of staff to the emir, Alhaji Munir Sanusi, ended unanswered while that of the Falakin Kano, Alhaji Mujtapha Abba, could not be reached as the phone was switched off. Both men are yet to respond to text messages sent to them. However, the Manager of the Capital Properties Nigeria limited, Alhaji Abubakar Tanko Bala, confirmed that the company had sealed a deal with the Kano Emirate Council with a view to developing the land. He said, “We are operating a firm that is into developing land properties and it is confirmed that we have entered agreement with the Kano Emirate Council in order to develop the Gandun Sarki in Hotoro North. We bought the land and we have started developing it. “We have so far built some houses on the land and other structures including a mosque. But since the commission has launched its investigation, we are ready to comply with the provisions of the law. The commission has invited us and we have honoured its invitation because to the best of our knowledge we have followed due process in the transaction.

“Although we have appeared before the commission, the commission did not stop us from developing the land. As I am speaking to you now, our men are there working. We are confident that the commission will do justice to this matter. We are business firm and bought this land through a legitimate transaction, so I am sure the commission will do everything possible to do justice to all parties involved in the transaction.” This is not the first time the emir and the Kano Emirate are coming under probe since the Malam Muhammadu Sanusi ll, ascended the throne in 2014. The Kano anti-graft agency investigated the emir over what it called “questionable” expenditure to the tune of N 4 billion but the probe was later suspended. Related Casualties of Ganduje, Sanusi quarrel 5 years after Ado Bayero: So many changes in Kano Emirate Real reasons Ganduje is after Emir Sanusi.
https://www.dailytrust.com.ng/ganduje-renews-feud-with-sanusi

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