The Deputy Governor of Zamfara State Mahadi Aliyu was absent – alongside his lawyer – to stand in for him at the impeachment proceedings as a seven-man panel set up by the Zamfara State Chief Judge Kulu Aliyu to investigate the allegations levelled against him.
The Zamfara State House of Assembly is accusing the deputy governor Mahdi of misappropriation of funds, gross misconduct, and abuse of office among other things
The fact-finding panel is saddled with the responsibility to investigate allegations and submit a report to the Chief Judge; though no time frame is given to the panel to submit its report.
The deputy governor, who doubles as the respondent, is absent at the first sitting, and no counsel or person representing the deputy governor. The secretary to the panel Barrister Ashiru Tsafe told the fact-finding committee that he has served the deputy governor with all the necessary notices regarding his appearance before the committee via electronic, email address, Whatsapp and has also submitted scan copies of the delivery report
Counsel to the complainant Barrister Nasiru Jangebe presented seven witnesses for cross-examination before the panel
The first “complainant witness”, one Abubakar Mohammed, and the director-general and secretary to the state executive council, identified the documents he presented to the panel.
One of the documents was the notice of meetings served to the deputy governor. After careful checks of the documents, Abubakar Mohammed was discharged by the panel.
The second witness is the state head of service Kabiru Muhammad, who doubled as the secretary of Zamfara State economic development committee, has tendered in evidence the minute of the maiden meeting of the committee held at the office of the deputy governor on 15/02/2021. He affirmed that since the deputy governor did not instruct to convey another meeting of the committee.
But he told the panel that, as secretary of the committee, he has to call for a technical subcommittee meeting to discuss issues and design some road map regarding the activities of the committee.
It could be recalled that in January 2021 the governor constituted the state economic team committee headed by the deputy governor; the objective was to map out strategies for the restructuring of the economy of the state.
Another witness Shehu Mainasara, who is a retired Permanent Secretary at the office of the deputy governor, testified that the deputy governor has not been coming to office within the stipulated period. He said the deputy governor had been given “oral” directives through a telephone call.
When asked by one of the panelists whether “oral” directives are acceptable in the civil service rules, Mainasara said that has been the practice which he met upon his assumption to office as the Permanent Secretary to the Office of the Deputy Governor.
The sitting has been adjourned for thirty minutes and the Director of Finance in the office of the deputy governor is the next “complainant witness” after the resumption of the panel.
The panel has the following as members: Justice Halidu Tanko Soba (rtd) as Chairman, Oladipo Okpeseyi (SAN), Abdul Atadoga Ibrahim (SAN), Hussaini Zakariya’u (SAN) others are Amina Tanimu Marafa, Sani Mande, and Ahmad Buhari Rabah while Barrister Ashiru Tsafe serves as the secretary.