Hon Gudaji Kazaure’s N370 billion Commission from CBN ‘investigation ‘ Bounty And Public Interest.
By Bello M. Zaki
I was privileged to have received a recorded telephone conversation, mid this year, between Hon. Gudaji Kazaure and a senior citizen of this country, in which Kazaure was telling the elderly man that he was about to make N370 billion commission from a N62 trillion stamp duty fraud investigation in Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), but was being prevented by the State Chief Protocol to the President (SCOP), Lawan Abdullahi Kazaure, by not allowing him to see the president and conclude the deal.
The summary of the recorded telephone conversation is thus: One Adekoye, a Nigerian born British citizen and a Chartered Accountant, was sometime at the beginning of this year engaged by the president to investigate a stamp duty fraud in the CBN. Adekoye’s house at Gwarimpa Estate in Abuja was attacked by hired assassins not sooner than he started the investigation. He was saved by the policemen provided to protect him while he was doing the investigation. The policemen were withdrawn immediately after the incident, therefore Adekoye sneaked to Kaduna, flew to Lagos and boarded the next available flight to London.
Adekoye sneaked back to Abuja few months later and linked with Hon. Kazaure who agreed to re-present the stamp duty issue to the president on the agreement that a 7.5% bounty Adekoye would receive from the investigation, will be split 5% and 2.5% between Adekoye and Kazaure respectively, with Kazaure’s 2.5% of the sum amounting to N370 billion.
Hon. Kazaure secured an appointment with the president on a Saturday night and presented the stamp duty case to him; the president welcomed the idea of investigating the issue and asked SCOP to bring in Hon. Kazaure for further discussion the following Tuesday. Immediately Hon. Kazaure left the presence of the president, SCOP told him that he would not see the president that Tuesday, not even any day that week or any other day in the near future, as the schedule of the president was highly crowded. Hon. Kazaure could not convinced SCOP to allow him see the president again despite all appeal.
Hon. Kazaure therefore alleged that SCOP and other officers in the presidency were beneficiaries of a largesse from the stamp duty scam; that the president’s conversation with visitors like him were wiretapped by a cabal in the presidency, as SCOP was out of hearing when he addressed the president, but he seemed to be aware of the content of their discussion. Here ends the summary of the audio recording.
Please note that Hon. Kazaure is an elected member of the Federal House of Representatives, representing Kazaure, Gwiwa, Roni and Yankwashi local government areas of Jigawa State.
I was therefore shocked last week to watch a BBC Radio audio visual clip on the net in which Hon. Kazaure was threatening that he had the mandate of the president to arrest, detain and dismiss the CBN Governor, if he did not cooperate with his committee that was investigating an N89 trillion fraud in the CBN; that the on going currency renewal is an attempt to thwart his committee’s investigation of the stamp duty fraud; but he could not link the stamp duty investigation to the currency renewal when the interviewing journalist asked him to do so.
I then started wondering, on the strength of what evidence BBC was airing these wild allegations? Soon, the social media became a washed with an approved proposal letter to the president, written and signed by Hon. Kazaure on the 8th of August 2022 and was signed and approved by the president on the 1st of September 2022. I didn’t immediately lend credibility to the approval letter, till I confirmed the authenticity of the approval signature from people that are quite conversant with the president’s signature.
In addition, when the president’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu, responded to Kazaure’s interview, he was silent on the authenticity of the approval. I was therefore forced to admit the genuinty of the approval, only to ask myself ‘could our president gone senile?’ As I believe it is quite unusual for a person to just walk into a government chief executive like a president with a piece of paper and secure approval, just like that.
The act is entirely out of government’s normal protocol and due process: Someone cannot approach an executive like a governor or a president with a piece of paper and obtain his approval, and walk away with it, just like he or she is buying a ticket at a train station. What is expected of such executive is to refer the memo to a relevant aide, commissioner or a minister as the case may be, for advise.
When the matter is communicated back to the executive, he or she will then communicate his approval to the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) in the case of a state or to the Secretary of the Government of the Federation (SGF) in case of federal government, who will then communicate the approval to the relevant persons and authorities concerned, then to the public through the press. Governance is an opened team work, it therefore supposed to be opened and sincere, not to be a one-man show, shrouded in secrecy.
One very funny thing with Hon. Kazaure’s memo/proposal is that, he proposed his partner (Adekoye) as the Chairman of the Committee, and himself, (the junior partner in the deal) as the Secretary. Other members of the Committee are Minister of Finance, Director General of the DSS, Chief Justice of the Federation and two of his friends, a retired Commissioner of Police and a retired NIA staff.
Hon. Kazaure’s memo went on and listed a ten-point terms of reference for his committee; three most amazing ones are the power to investigate, arrest and detain any person or persons that do not cooperate or tried to temper with the activities of their committee; pay 7.5% ‘royalty’ to the ‘consultants’ recovering the stamp duty funds, and write a white paper to direct the CBN on how to deal with issues of stamp duty to avoid future occurrences of fraud; these three terms made it the most powerful committee in the world! I don’t need to expatiate.
What I am trying to show in this endeavour is that it is wrong for an elected or an appointed public official to pursue his or her personal interest under the guise of protecting public interest. I am not defending the CBN that there is no fraud in the stamp duty issue or in any of its operations, or that I am trying to improve or salvage the already tattered image of the APC led administration; no, far from that. What I am saying is that public officials like Hon. Kazaure should not shroud their personal interests and heroically deceive the gullible public.
He could have tabled this issue on the floor of the House of Representatives for deliberation if he is acting in public interest, rather than taking the back to exploit his connection with the president for his personal again.