By Mustapha Usman, Kano
The Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission has uncovered a mega scam in Kantin Kwari market shop allocation by the state Ministry of Commerce and Kano State Urban Planning and Development Authority, KNUPDA.
DAILY NIGERIAN gathered that over 900 names were fraudulently inserted in the on-going relocation of traders with temporary stalls to a new shopping mall called ‘Yan Tebura.
Findings show that certified stall owners are to pay less than N1million while fresh applicants are pay about N3.5million to own a shop in the mall, which surrounds the largest textile market in West African sub region.
After the initial verification to ascertain the actual number of affected traders was done by Ministry of Commerce and KNUPDA, many genuine traders protested that the exercise was marred by fraud.
DAILY NIGERIAN leant that the state governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, therefore directed the state anti-corruption commission to investigate the matter.
When the anti-graft agency received the list of the 3,468 stall owners to be compensated with shops at the mall and called for screening, some of the said ‘stall owners’ failed to show up.
Our reporter gathered that after the screening exercise, about 900 ‘ghost allotees’ were discovered by the commission.
Sources in the commission said top officials of ministry and agency responsible for the allocation exercise inserted ghost names to benefit from the subsidized rate and deny bona fide stall owners chance of owning shops in the new mall.
The Ministry of Commerce in a letter to the commission however absolved itself of blame, saying it ‘supports the verification’.
But insiders said the fraud was perpetrated in active connivance of the top officials of the ministry of commerce, KNUPDA and market union.
“It is impossible to have this number inserted without the connivance of some compromised government officials of these two agencies,” said an official who craved anonymity.
“We engage forensic experts who applied computer system data capture in tracking the fraud. So far we uncovered over N2.4billion fraud. We will ensure that those involved in this fraud are prosecuted.”