GOVERNOR Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State has won a landmark legal battle today after a federal high court sitting in the state capital dismissed bribery charges brought against him for lack of evidence.
Nicknamed Gandollar after he was filmed stuffing dollars bills into his pocket during a sting operation in which he was filmed taking a bribe from a contractor, Governor Ganduje had become the butt of corruption jokes across the country. Seen as the embodiment of corruption, the governor was caught on tape collecting a 30% cut from a government contractor in exchange for awarding him a state contract.
Despite the evidence against him, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) still fielded Governor Ganduje as its gubernatorial candidate in the last elections. After a controversial second round of voting, Governor Ganduje was declared the winner of the elections and was sworn-in for a second term in May.
In the run-up to the elections, Governor Ganduje also won a court order asking the Kano State House of Assembly to halt its investigations into his conduct. This, however, has not prevented anti-corruption campaigners from pursuing the matter in the courts and Kano lawyer Bulama Bukarti, had approached the court to issue an order compelling the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate Governor Ganduje for alleged bribery.
However, earlier today, Justice Obiora Egwuatu of the federal high court in Kano, cleared the governor of the charges for lack of evidence. In his ruling, the judge dismissed the application, saying nothing proves that the EFCC has conducted a forensic analysis on the videos and any report should first be forwarded to the Kano State House of Assembly panel originally set up to look into the matter.
Mr Bukarti had specifically requested the court compel the EFCC to provide a report of a forensic investigation of the videos and to act upon it. He then sought an order mandating the EFCC to investigate the bribery allegations against the governor.