Embattled Kano State governor, Umar Ganduje, is about to face more public scrutiny as the contractor who had filmed him allegedly receiving bribes is ready to testify against him before the Kano State House of Assembly.
The governor has been in the news over the past few weeks after the publisher of Daily Nigerian, Ja'afar Ja'afar, alleged that he regularly received bribes from contractors handling projects in the state.
In a series of videos in Ja'afar's possession, the governor was alleged to have received a total of $5 million in installments from a certain contractor on several occasions. Four different video clips have gone viral on social media showing the governor accepting bundles of dollar notes from the yet-to-be-identified contractor.
However, the contractor, writing through his lawyer, Saeed Muhd Twada, has offered to testify before the panel that was set up by the House of Assembly to investigate the allegations.
Twada said the contractor's appearance will depend on the panel fulfilling certain conditions that includes being allowed to wear a mask, bear a pseudonym and receiving protection from authorities for himself, family and business undertakings.
He also requested that all video clips be submitted to two experts for forensic analysis and report - one, a serving officer of the Department of State Services (DSS) and the other an expatriate.
The letter lists other conditions as, "That a Certified True Copy of the Report(s) prepared by the experts shall be made available to our client prior to his appearance.
"That our client has undertaken to surrender to the experts, the device used in capturing all the events in the video clips submitted and others yet to be submitted for discreet analysis and scrutiny.
"That all the proposed questions to be asked by the panel in the anticipated session shall not be more than TEN (10) and shall be forwarded to our client in advance."
He also requested that Governor Ganduje, Ja'afar, and a certain Aminu Daurawa must be present when he makes his testimony before the panel.
Ganduje denies allegations
Ganduje was recently invited for questioning by the state's House of Assembly panel investigating bribery allegations against him
Even though he was directed to appear before the committee on Friday, November 2, he failed to show up but sent the state's Commissioner for Information, Mohammed Garba, to represent him.
While addressing the committee, Garba said the allegations against the governor are false. He also dismissed the videos as doctored.
Ganduje's counsel, Ma'aruf Yakasai, told the committee that the governor neglected to sue Ja'afar for defamation so as to allow the House of Assembly to handle the issue.
A Kano State High Court on Monday, November 5, issued an order which stopped the committee from investigating Ganduje pending the determination of a case filed before it on the matter where it was argued that the panel had no right to investigate the allegations. However, the panel has publicly vowed to keep investigating the allegations against the governor.
How Ganduje was caught on tape
When Ja'afarappearedbefore the same committee on October 25, he insisted that the videos are not doctored like Governor Ganduje has claimed.
He said the sting operation was conducted after a contractor friend of his complained that the governor had been receiving bribes, ranging from 15% to 25%, for every project executed in the state from contractors.
He revealed that spy cameras were planted in the contractor's kaftan lapel to catch the governor in the act. Of the 15 clips he said were recorded during the operation, nine fully showed the governor's face, body and hands collecting bundles of dollars.
He said the videos that have been published, two at the time, were certified to be genuine by Daily Nigerian's in-house technical expert, the editor-in-chief and editorial adviser, as well as experts from Amnesty International Nigeria, BBC and Premium Times who have also watched the clips.
Governor Ganduje has maintained his innocence, claiming that the videos have been doctored by his political opponents to tarnish his reputation.