Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, says allegation of bribery linked to him is “all falsehood”. Mr. Dangote said a committee set up by the Kano State House of Assembly to probe the bribery allegation should not waste its time.
“It’s all falsehood,” Dangote Group spokesman, Tony Chiejina, said. The allegation has no foundation whatsoever and is an “outright falsehood”, he said. A report by a news website, DailyNigerian.com, said Mr. Dangote gave the former Kano Assembly Speaker, Kabiru Rurum, N100 million to end the probe of Emir Muhammadu Sanusi. The publication came after prominent Nigerians, led by the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, prevailed on the state to drop the investigation of the emir over allegations of financial misdeed.
Mr. Rurum, responding to the allegation in an interview on June 20, described the story as false, designed to tarnish his image and bring the whole Assembly into disrepute. He gave DailyNigeria.com one week within which to retract the report and apologise to the State Assembly or face legal action. According to him, the report was targeted at creating tension and chaos among the lawmakers and to ridicule Dangote.
“The story was just a fabrication, a tissue of lies and unjustifiable, because there was never a time I met with Dangote to discuss such issue, not to talk of him offering bribe to us,” he said. He said the intervention of Mr. Osinbajo and other notable Nigerians was channeled through the state governor and not the assembly. “It is a tradition that when such things happened, the governor gets in touch with us as one of the three arms of government.
“Therefore, the governor forwarded his request letter appealing for the suspension of the investigation on behalf of all the concerned citizens,” he said. Mr. Rurum was forced to resign on Monday. Mr. Chiejina told NAN on Monday night that the allegation has been “embarrassing” to Mr. Dangote. “Aliko Dangote does not even know the embattled speaker, Hon. Kabiru Alhassan Rurum, let alone being his friend as alleged by the report,” Mr. Chiejina said.
The Kano Assembly meanwhile has asked a five-man committee to investigate the allegations against Rurum. The new Speaker, Abdullahi Atta, proposed the investigation at the plenary. It was unanimously accepted by the house. Mr. Atta gave the committee, which has as the chairman, the Deputy Chief Whip of the Assembly, Muhammad Butu-Butu, a member representing Rimin Gado/Tofa Constituency, three months to submit its report. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the former speaker had in his resignation letter said he resigned in order to protect his image and that of his constituency over the corruption allegations.
Mr. Rurum told journalists after the plenary session that he had urged his colleagues to be fair and just while conducting their investigation.