May 01, 2017

Tension As Emir Sanusi Faces Graft Probe

One of Nigeria’s most prominent Muslim leaders is under investigation of alleged embezzlement, fueling rumours that some powerful forces want him removed after he made a series of comments about the need for social reforms.

Anti-corruption investigators are looking into the accounts of Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, following allegations of gross mismanagement of royal finances.

“We have gone far in the investigation… to safeguard the honour and prestige of the emirate council,” the head of the anti-corruption unit in Kano state, Muhyi Magaji, said.

The treasurer and secretary of the state-funded royal court have been summoned for questioning on Tuesday, he added.

A source familiar with the investigation said the probe centred on the use of six billion naira ($19 million, 17 million euros) of palace funds to pay for luxury cars, chartered flights, phone and internet bills as well as other personal expenses.

The council has denied the allegations.

“The emirate council has never bought a Rolls Royce for the emir,” treasurer Mahe Bashir Wali told reporters last Monday. “These cars were given as gifts by his friends after he became emir.”

Wali maintained that the emir always bought his airline tickets with personal money and that the state government approved all his spending.

In the last three years, Emir Sanusi has broken with royal tradition, speaking out about the need for social reform in a fiercely conservative region. Some are not happy with his statements.