By Mustapha Yauri
The Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission has sealed a hospital belonging to a former Commissioner for Health in the state over alleged theft of 533,000 dollars (about N163 million).
The Chairman of the commission, Mr Muhuyi Rimingado, made this known to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) by telephone on Thursday in Abuja.
Rimingado said that the health facility, New Age Diabetic Clinic, located at Dorayi Babba in Kano, belonged to Dr Abubakar Yusuf, the former commissioner for health allegedly involved in the scholarship scam.
He said the amount was part of 1.5 million dollars (about N458 million) meant for the payment of scholarship grants to 139 students sponsored by the previous government to study at Al-Mansuora International University, Egypt.
He explained that the commission’s attention was drawn to the development following complaints of non-payment of the allowances by the students.
The chairman said that the allowances covered the 2012 to 2014 tuition and accommodation fees of the students.
Rimingado said that the subsequent seizure of 200,000 dollars (about N61 million) by authorities at the Cairo International Airport from a Nigerian bound for Kano was also directly linked to the ex-commissioner.
The chairman said that the suspect had confessed his connection to the seized $200,000.
“Yusuf said the money was meant to finance a company they created but could not provide the source of the fund and the reason for the attempt to smuggle it into the country,’’ the chairman said.
“In the course of investigation, one of the directors at the Ministry of Health confirmed that he served the former commissioner with the money sourced from the consultant to the students’ scholarship scheme,” Rimingado added.
He said the consultant collected 1.5 million dollars from the Kano Government for the scholarship scheme, but how the fund was disbursed remained suspicious.
The Chairman said: “This is an act punishable under sections 22, 23, 40 and 41 of the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Law 2008 (as amended)”.
The law empowers the commission to seize any money or property suspected to have been acquired fraudulently or corruptly.
Such funds, assets or property belonging to suspects under investigation shall remain in the custody of the commission pending final court verdict or at the discretion of the anti-graft agency.
He assured the public of the commission’s commitment to ensure justice, equity and fairness to all and sundry in the discharge of its mandate.
NAN also recalls that the commission is investigating staff of the state Judiciary over alleged non-remittance of about N100 million revenue to government coffers.
The anti-graft agency is also investigating some workers of the state traffic control authority (KAROTA) over an alleged N50 million corruption case