Monday, June 21, 2021

The ‘fishing expedition’ on Hadiza Bala Usman, by Na-Allah Zagga


tiamin rice
The NPA revenue remittance issue and the suspension of Hadiza Bala Usman is intriguing. When an issue involves vested interests, justice should be done to ensure an innocent person is not portrayed as a thief. I can bet my shirt, even my neck, that Hadiza Bala Usman couldn’t have stolen N165 billion of government’s revenue.
According to reports, the Auditor General of the Federation had told the Chief of the Staff to the President that the NPA records were fully and duly audited and that they were up to date. Meanwhile, Transportation Minister Amaechi wanted to do his audit of the NPA revenue remittance records and was able to persuade the President to suspend her.
What worries me about the reports I have read is that she and Amaechi don’t allegedly see eye to eye. According those reports, he was even against her reappointment for second tenure as MD.
This alleged acrimonious relationship is an impediment to a fair investigation of Hadiza Bala Usman. How can a boss who doesn’t allegedly like me be the one to investigate me? If a boss is not disinterested in a case, shouldn’t the President have appointed independent persons to investigate her instead of allowing a Minister to use his own subordinates to investigate a woman with whom they are having issues that go beyond transparency? Can the Minister be a judge in his own case?
I didn’t initially want to write on this issue until I visited the Area One Shopping Centre this afternoon where I overheard the traders discussing the Hadiza Bala Usman matter. One of them said: “Wannan ba karamar barauniya bace. Yaya mutum daya zai sace naira biliyan dari daya da sitting da biyar?” Translated: This woman is not a small thief; how can one person steal N165?”
This public perception of corruption got me worried. Hadiza’s name has been needlessly damaged on account of the this perception arising from her sudden suspension. Even if she is eventually given a clean bill of health, her reputation is already stained before the conclusion of the investigation against her. This is unfair. Allowing my alleged enemy to decide my fate does great violence to the basic concept of fairness. Amaechi is reportedly not neutral in this matter, and it’s worrisome.
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