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Court bars Kano assembly from investigating Ganduje

A Kano high court has ruled that the Kano State House of Assembly is not empowered by the law to investigate the $5 million bribery allegation against Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.

Delivering the judgement on Thursday, the presiding judge Justice Ahmad Badamasi said collecting bribe from contractors is a criminal offence in section 115 and 116 of the penal code, and the House has no capacity to investigate criminal offences.

He stated that the power to investigate criminal offence is vested on agencies under the executive arms such as police, the EFCC and the ICPC.

The judge gave an order restraining the House from an interview or inviting any person on the bribery allegation against Mr Ganduje as published by the Daily Nigerian newspaper.

The judge said the assembly, by the constitution, only has the power to make law and review existing law but not the power to investigate criminal matters

The suit was filed by Muhammad Zubairu, national coordinator of Lawyers for Sustainable Democracy in Nigeria, a pro-democracy group.

Joined as defendants in the suit were Baffa Dangundi, chairman of the investigative panel of the house, and the attorney general of the state.

Nuraini Jimoh, counsel to the plaintiff, applauded the ruling while Muhammad Waziri, the defendant’s lawyer, said he would consult his clients on their next line of action.

The state assembly had set up a seven-man committee to investigate the bribery allegation against Ganduje.

On November 5, NAN reported that the court had ordered the house to suspend the probe while ruling on an ex parte application by Zubair.

But the assembly decided not to comply with the order.

The chairman of the committee investigating the issue had said the court order did not stop the panel from continuing with the investigation.

However, on November 13, the assembly eventually succumbed to the order, saying the house is a law-abiding arm of government, and it would obey the court and suspend all forms of investigation on the case pending the court judgement.

In videos published by Daily Nigerian, an online publication, Ganduje was seen allegedly receiving kickbacks from contractors.

The governor has denied the allegation, saying the video was doctored.

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