Barely a year after he ascended the throne, Emir Aminu Ado Bayero of Kano is facing a similar corruption probe that shook the reign of his predecessor, Muhammadu Sanusi II.
This time, it is the sale of 22 hectares of land at Gandun Sarki, Dorayi Karama, in Gwale Local Government Area of the state and allegedly diverting the money into private royal pockets that have landed the Kano royals in hot waters.
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Two court orders on March 31 and April 1 show that Kano State’s Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission (PCACC), the same commission that had hounded Emir Bayero’s predecessor, Sanusi II, is investigating the emirate council under Bayero for the transaction.
The first ex-parte order restrained Muhyi Magaji Rimingado (the chairman of PCACC), the Kano State Commissioner of Police and the Assistant Inspector General of Police (Zone 1) from “destroying construction work on the property and from further interfering by any means with the applicant’s peaceful possession of the property situated at Dorayi Karama (Gandun Sarki) subject matter of this suit pending the determination of the motion on notice.”
The applicant for this order, Alhaji Yusuf Shuaibu Aliyu, the buyer of the said property from the Kano Emirate Council, also got the court to restrain the three respondents from harassing him and interfering in his “possession” of the real estate.
“We know they targeted the Easter break declared for Friday and Monday to be able to carry out significant work on the property before we can get the court to vacate the order,” a source in the legal department of PCACC told Daily Trust.
The PCACC rushed to the same court presided over by Justice Usman Mallam Na’Abba of the Kano State High Court, sitting at Miller Road complex, and got the court to grant another ex-parte application, this time in favour of the PCACC chairman, who lawyers opined should not have been sued personally in the first instance as he was only an official of the PCACC.
“That after review of the affidavit in support, further to the interim order made by this court dated 31/03/2021, the court hereby orders that the parties maintain status quo pending the hearing of the motion on notice fixed for hearing on 12/4/2021”, the judge ruled.
Daily Trust gathered that the property in question was said to have been divided into two with eight hectares belonging to the Estate of Late Alhaji Ado Bayero, the former Emir of Kano and father of the current one. The remaining 14 hectares belonged to the Kano Emirate Council.
A council extract from a meeting by the Kano Emirate Council sometime in 2019 had mandated the land to the Ado Bayero Royal City Trust Fund (ABRCTF), created by the late emir and bequeathed with all royal assets for proper management.
ABRCTF had subsequently raised a committee to oversee the development of a residential layout on a Site and Services basis on the land at that time.
The proposed development was also supposed to consist of recreation centres in the community as well as an arena for the annual festivities of Hawan Dorayi to serve as horse tethering to conveniently accommodate 3,000 horses, among others.
The PCACC had, however, stopped the project because of its probe of the deposed Emir Sanusi as regards the sale of another royal asset at Darmanawa.
However, on October 22, 2020, the ABRCTF wrote to the PCACC intimating the commission of encroachment on the land. To check this, the council requested permission to continue work on the land.
In December 2020, the state government granted the council permission to proceed with the joint venture development but was shocked to learn that the land was sold soon after.
The investigation by PCACC and court papers revealed that Alhaji Yusuf Shuaibu Aliyu, the Chairman/CEO of Amnet Institute of Technology was offered to purchase 115 plots (approximately eight hectares) of the land by the Estate of the late Emir Ado Bayero while the Kano Emirate Council offered the remaining 14 hectares to the same Aliyu, this time addressed as Chairman/CEO of Jaen B & Sons Ltd.
Daily Trust investigations revealed that Aliyu is a councillor and house leader in the Kano Municipal Local Government Area.
According to court papers, the Estate of Late Alhaji Ado Bayero in a letter titled “Re: Offer purchase plots at Gandu Sarki, Dorayi Katana Kano” to Aliyu on February 26, 2021, offered to sell (to Aliyu) the eight hectares of the 22 hectares of the land at Gandu Sarki that was reportedly allocated to the heirs of the late emir.
“The heirs agreed to sale (sic) the said plots to you at the cost of five million Naira (N5,000,000.00) per each plot x 115 plots = Five hundred and seventy-five million Naira (N575,000,000.00) for the above-mentioned plots,” the letter, which detailed the account number to be credited with payment, read in part.
The letter was signed by Alhaji Bashir Ado Bayero (Dan Lawan Kano), Hajiya Fatima Ado Bayero (Gwaggo Amarya), and Alhaji Bello Ado Bayero (Dan Darman Kano).
Findings showed that Aliyu has since made the full payment of N575million for the land.
For the remaining 14 hectares, a letter marked Exhibit A in court proceedings titled: “Sales of Landed Property at Dorayi Karama (Gandun Sarki) in Gwale Local Government” and addressed to Aliyu, “The Chairman/CEO, Jaen B & Sons Ltd”, offered the piece of land to Aliyu at N200million.
The letter, dated February 2, 2021, and signed by Alhaji Sarki Waziri (Dan Rimin Kano), stated: “I refer to the recent consent of the government and to inform you that Kano Emirate Council had approved the sale of a parcel of land at Dorayi Karama (Gandun Sarki) at the sum of Two Hundred Million Naira Only (N200,000,000).”
“They sold eight hectares at N575m and sold 14 hectares at N200m. This was the first red flag when we got wind of the sale”, a source close to the investigation told Daily Trust.
The source said they believe that those that coordinated the “deal undervalued the 14 hectares belonging to the Kano Emirate” and added that they have sufficient reasons to believe that apart from the N200m, which was received by one Awaisu Abbas Sunusi in US dollars equivalent, a further N200m was promised and must have been received as kickbacks.
The said Sunusi, a Principal Executive Officer, Administration at the Emirate Council, had acknowledged the receipt of “$416,600 from Alhaji Yusuf Shu’aibu in relation to Dorayi Fili (Plot)” on February 5, 2021, court papers revealed.
When the PCACC invited Sunusi on February 12, seven days after he received the money, he had denied any knowledge of the transaction.
“Based on these findings, we have concluded that Awaisu (Sunusi) was sure that the transaction was illegitimate,” one of the investigators said, adding that both Sunusi and Aliyu (the buyer) will be questioned again.
In between these discoveries, Dorayi Development Association petitioned the PCACC requesting the commission to investigate an alleged encroachment of the property.
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The Chairman of the PCACC, Muhyi Magaji Rimingado confirmed that the commission is investigating the Kano Emirate Council and all those involved in the transaction.
“Anybody whose name has been mentioned in the transaction will be invited. We are investigating the Emirate Council,” he said.
When asked if the commission will summon the Emir, he replied “No. Not now.”
Considering that the three persons mentioned in the deal report directly to the emir, a source said the odds are stacked against the emir. But being the “darling of the government,” the commission is handling the emir with velvet gloves for now.
Ironically, sources say the same individual who facilitated the sale of land during the Emir Sanusi saga facilitated the sales in this current saga.
Efforts to get reactions from both the Emir and Alhaji Aliyu have failed. Calls to the phones of Alhaji Aliyu and Alhaji Ahmed Ado Bayero, the Chief of Staff to the Emir, were not answered. Neither responded to text messages sent to them.