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Probe: El-Rufai authorised huge cash withdrawals in dollars, naira – Panel

Probe: El-Rufai authorised huge cash withdrawals in dollars, naira – Panel

The Kaduna State House of Assembly Probe Committee that investigated the administration of former governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has said he authorised huge cash withdrawals in dollars and naira from the government accounts.

In April, the Assembly inaugurated a 13-member committee to examine the loans, grants and project implementation during the period El-Rufai was governor from 2015 to 2023.

The alleged embezzlement  was put at N423 billion.

Chairman of the committee, Henry Zacharia, who presented the report during plenary, yesterday, said most of the loans obtained by the El-Rufai administration were used for other purposes.

The Committee’s report, which was immediately adopted and its recommendations forwarded to Governor Uba Sani for immediate action, also alleged that El-Rufa’i was involved in complicit activities with commissioners and heads of parastatals to defraud the state by issuing directives to the Kaduna State Public Procurement Agency (KADPPA) to circumvent due process in the payment of contractors vide letter dated June 21, 2021.

The Committee alleged that some government contractors were overpaid while others collected money without executing the assigned projects. It recommended that the contractors including: Ronchess Global Resources PLC, Chamberlayne Global Concept Ltd, and M/S Prestige Integrated Services Ltd, among others, should refund N36.3 billion, being monies paid for work either not done, overpayment or diversion to the Kaduna State Government.

El-Rufai dismisses report

Reacting to the report of the ad-hoc committee, former governor, El-Rufai, in a statement by his media adviser, Muyiwa Adekeye, dismissed with contempt the claims being peddled in connection with the report as he insisted that he led a government integrity.

The statement read: “We have not been availed a copy of the report, to which we would respond robustly whenever we obtain it. We affirm the integrity of the El-Rufai government and dismiss the scandalous claims being aired as the report of the committee.

“Malam Nasir El-Rufai is immensely proud of his record of governance and the legacy he left in Kaduna State.  This record of consistently high performance in public and private office cannot be altered by any malicious effort to use the auspices of a state legislature for defamation and undeserved smears.

“Many of the officials who served in the El-Rufai government appeared before the ad-hoc committee because of their confidence in the quality of their service and the rectitude which they served Kaduna State. Theywere under no illusion that they were participating in a fair process. It was obvious that the ad hoc committee was merely going through the motions of an inquiry just to give some gloss to predetermined conclusions.

“It is sad to see such a shameful departure from any notion of decency and fairness by a state legislature. We dismiss with contempt the claims being peddled in connection with the report.

“Malam El-Rufai wishes to assure discerning Nigerians that he has served Kaduna State with integrity and to the best of his capacity, assisted by a hardworking and patriotic team. He complied with all extant laws in all his activities while he was the governor. This jaundiced probe should be disregarded as the politically motivated hatchet job it is.

The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has advised that El-rufai should further be investigated thoroughly since he is a prominent and influential figure in Nigerian politics, who had been praised for his efforts to reform the public sector and improve governance in Kaduna State.

This is as Secretary General, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in 19 Northern States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, Elder Sunday Oibe, said if the former governor is found wanting for allegedly embezzling N423 billion, he should face the music.

Reacting through a statement, spokesperson of NEF, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, said it was important to analyse the situation critically and objectively before forming an opinion or passing judgment.

“The recent development of the Kaduna House of Assembly probe panel indicting the former governor of the state, Nasir El-rufai of embezzling N423 billion, and urging the EFCC to pick him for further investigation is a serious and concerning matter. As a responsible citizen, I think it is important to analyse the situation critically, and objectively before forming any opinion or passing judgment.

“First and foremost, it is important to acknowledge that corruption is a cancer that has plagued our society for far too long. It undermines the rule of law, erodes public trust in government institutions, and hinders economic development. Therefore, any allegations of embezzlement, regardless of the individual involved, must be taken seriously and investigated thoroughly.

“On the one hand, we have El-Rufai, a prominent and influential figure in Nigerian politics, who has been praised for his efforts to reform the public sector and improve governance in Kaduna State. His administration has implemented various policies and initiatives aimed at promoting transparency, accountability, and good governance.

“However, the accusations of embezzling such a staggering amount of money cannot be ignored or brushed aside. If true, it would be a grave betrayal of public trust and a blatant abuse of power. The EFCC, as the anti-corruption agency, tasked with investigating and prosecuting cases of financial crimes, must take these allegations seriously and conduct a thorough and impartial investigation.

“At the same time, it is important to remember that El-Rufai, like any other individual, is innocent until proven guilty. It is imperative that the investigation is conducted in a fair and transparent manner, with due process and respect for the rule of law. The EFCC must ensure that all evidence is thoroughly examined, all parties involved are given a chance to present their side of the story, and that justice is served in accordance with the law.

“As citizens, we must hold our leaders accountable for their actions and demand transparency and accountability in governance. It is our collective responsibility to stand up against corruption, and ensure that those who betray the public trust are held accountable for their actions. Let us wait for the EFCC’s investigation to unfold and trust in the judicial process to deliver justice in the end,” the statement said.

Elder Oibe said nobody is above the law and El-rufai cannot be an exemption.

“Nobody is above the law as such, if he is found wanting, he should face the law. After all he was using the same instrument rightly or wrongly to clamp innocent people into detention when he was in power. Secondly, devoid of sentiment, a steward is expected to give account of his or her stewardship.

“As for me, there’s nothing special about El-Rufai being asked to give account of his stewardship to the good people of kaduna state that hired him to work for them for eight years.  Both the House of Assembly members and Governor Uba Sani should be commended for their courage to investigate and recommending that El-Rufai should be invited by the EFCC. My advice to the House of Assembly is to ensure due diligence in framing charges against him to avoid any window of him escaping any charge or allegations against him. The public is interested and we are keenly  watching how this is going to play out,” the statement said. The Sun Nigeria

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