By Uche Amunike
The former Commissioner of Works and Infrastructure, under the past administration of Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, in Kano state, Idris Wada, was remanded by a Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Kano, and kept in the custody of the Kano State Public Complaint and Anti-Corruption Commission (PCACC), for 12 days over alleged fraud of N1bn.
The courts, which was presided over by Chief Magistrate Tijjani Saleh Manjibir, ordered that Engineer Saleh, who is also the Managing Director of Kano Road and Maintenance Agency (KARMA), should be remanded, following his arrest by the Commission.
The Prosecution Counsel and Secretary/Legal Adviser of the Commission, Salisu Tahir, solicited that he had earlier told the court that he had filed an exparte application, demanding that the court should remand the defendants in his custody for 14 days, so as to let it carry out further investigation and file a formal charge claiming that the defendant has a case to answer regarding the N1bn road project belonging to the state government.
While urging the courts to consider and grant its request, Tahir said that six exhibits, which include payment vouchers of the three companies and also a final address which was dated 4th July 2023 were attached to the application.
In his response, the counsel to the defendant, Mustapha Idris, informed the court that even though the application by the prosecution was exparte, it also has a bail application and that, which the prosecution counsel objected to.
The presiding judge, however ruled that he is remanded for 12 days instead of 14 days as requested by the Commission and also instructed that the defendant is put under good condition in the commission’s custody.
Chief Magistrate Minjibir adjourned the matter till 14th July 2023, when he will rule on the bail application.
At an earlier briefing, the PCACC Chairman, Muhyi Rimingado said that five other people, including a Permanent Secretary and Directors were also arrested by PCACC, in order to help with the investigation of the alleged fraud.
His words: ‘We are here in relation to an outright theft of N1 billion belonging to Kano state government through bogus companies. I can’t tell you the names of the companies off head right now and for investigation sake.’
‘The money was removed a month before handing over and it was removed under the pretext that it would be used for construction or rehabilitation of about thirty roads across Kano state.’
‘That is why we made some arrests including the commissioner of works who doubles as the Managing Director Kano Road Maintenance Agency, KARMA. I want you to take note of this.’
‘When we invited some of the Directors, because we have the Bank details that indicated fraudulent activities, this ignited the Commission to look into it.’
‘We invited the Director Personnel, Planning and Statistics as well as the Director of Finance. They confessed to the Commission that they were only under instructions to remove the money.’
He further explained that the reason why they arrested the person that directed them was that there was no work done. And that was why they were taking him to court, stating that the plan was to get to the root of the matter and recover the allegedly stolen amount.
Meanwhile, Rimingado stated that the PCACC reopened the investigation of a video clip that allegedly showed former Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, receiving some dollars from a contractor in the state and that they were ready to re-open investigation that will help them put their house in order.
Hear him: ‘We have reopened the investigation. We have made series of in roads. We have invited experts from different spectrums which include media, Civil Society groups, security experts, and forensic experts for us to have an informed opinion about the video itself. We are contemplating going to them to give evidence before the court. We must take necessary steps for us to do due diligence in order to put our house in order.’
‘This is something that has to do with image and integrity of Kano State. Many people in Kano State are so keen about and interested in knowing what is happening with this video case. And Insha Allah we will put it behind us soon.’
He explained that the claims were initially anonymous, but presently, people are coming out to cooperate with the Commission.
In reaction, Rimingado stated that court orders do not in any way. affect the investigation and even if it did, they would obey the court order.
His words: ‘When a court order involves the Kano Anti-Corruption Commission, we will look at it and what it says and comply. It is an investigation and not a conviction. It is only a fact finding. The commission is under legal obligation to either on its own initial or following a complaint lodged before it by any person to investigate such kind of activities which include abuse of office, corruption, Maladministration and what have you.’
‘We have started our investigation and we are going to continue to do in the interest of Kano and the image of the state.’