By Salim Yunusa
The suspension of the Chairman, Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission, Muhyi Magaji, violates the law that set up the anti-corruption group, Nigeria’s anti-fraud group said on Monday.
The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) in a statement signed by its Chairman, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, said the suspension of Magaji reflects a conscious attempt to muzzle the Commission and undermine its independence by the political leadership of the state.
HEDA said the suspension is not only suspicious but against the law that sets up the Commission.
“The suspension of Magaji has raised a lot of credibility problems for the Kano House of Assembly. From all indications, the lawmakers wanted to impose a stooge on the Chairman to interfere in the finances of the commission,” HEDA said
The group quoted section 8 of the Law setting up the Commission which states that “In exercising its powers under this law, the Commission shall not be subjected to the direction and control of any authority”
HEDA said employment of staff at the Commission was the prerogative of the Chairman citing section 15 (g to i) which states that the Commission shall “make general policies for the appointments, promotions and discipline of its staff; make rules for the general administration of the Commission,” among other things.
The Kano State House of Assembly had suspended the Chairman of the state Public Complaint and Anti-Corruption Commission, Muhyi Magaji
The House based its logic on Magaji’s refusal to accept an accountant from the Office of the Accountant General the House members had wanted imposed on him. The AG then wrote a petition against the Chairman for rejecting the posting.
Magaji was asked to vacate his office for one month.
HEDA said since Magaji assumed office he has proved to be committed to discharging his duties with fairness, equity and the highest moral ground. This suspension, coming after rumoured attempt by the Governor to instigate removal of the Chairman through the Assembly, is unfortunate, condemnable and retrogressive at time when Civil Society organisations and advocates are making strong case for Sub national Anti-Corruption Agencies.
“HEDA was in the Commission’s office in Kano in 2019 and provided capacity building support, free of charge to the staff. We have had course to examine the excellent work the Commission has been doing and its determination to fight corruption without fear or favour. His suspension is a dent on the democratic process in Kano,” the rights group said.