₦423bn Theft: El-Rufai Fumes As Kaduna Assembly Orders Probe

The ad hoc committee set up by the Kaduna State House of Assembly to probe all finances, loans and contracts awarded under the immediate-past governor, Nasir El-Rufai, submitted its report yesterday indicting the ex-governor and some of his appointees of siphoning ₦423bn state funds.

However, El-Rufai, in a swift response through his media aide, Muyiwa Adekeye, criticized the report, describing it as false and scandalous.

“We are aware of news that the Kaduna State House of Assembly has adopted the report of the ad hoc committee it asked to probe the El-Rufai government.

“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,” Adekeye clapped back.

Africa Today News, New York reports that the Assembly, while adopting the report of the 13-man panel, called on the incumbent Governor, Uba Sani, to refer El-Rufai, his Commissioner of Finance and other aides to relevant security agencies for investigation.

Read Also: Probe: Kaduna Assembly Demands El-Rufai’s Transactions

Recall that the Assembly had in April set up the 13-man panel, headed by the Deputy Speaker, Henry  Danjuma, to probe El-Rufai’s administration.

The probe by the  Assembly came weeks after the incumbent Governor of Kaduna State, Uba Sani, lamented that El-Rufai left him a huge debt profile.

Sani, who spoke during a town hall meeting in Kaduna, said he inherited a lean treasury, adding that he could not pay workers’ salaries.

Sani said, “Despite the huge debt burden of $587m, N85bn, and 115 Contractual Liabilities sadly inherited from the previous administration, we remain resolute in steering Kaduna State towards progress and sustainable development.”

While presenting the report during  Wednesday’s plenary, Danjuma said  most of the loans obtained under the El-Rufai’s administration were not used for the purpose for which they were obtained, while in some cases, due process was not followed in securing the loans.

Receiving the report, the Speaker of the Kaduna House of Assembly, Yusuf Liman, said that a total N423bn was siphoned by the El-Rufai’s administration while leaving the state with huge liabilities.

The committee’s report, which was immediately adopted and its recommendations forwarded to the state Governor Sani for immediate action, alleged that El-Rufai authorised humongous withdrawals of cash both in naira and dollars from the state’s coffers, with no records of utilisation, denying the state of the needed resources for development.

It also alleged that El-Rufai was involved in complicit activities with commissioners and heads of parastatals by allegedly issuing directives to the Kaduna Public Procurement Agency to circumvent due process in the payment of contractors vide letter dated June 21, 2021.

The committee which alleged that some government contractors were overpaid, while others collected money without executing the assigned projects.

It, therefore, recommended that the contractors it listed should refund a total sum of N36.3bn “being funds paid for work either not done, overpayment or diversion to the Kaduna State government.”

The committee equally recommended that the current Commissioner of Finance, current Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board and the current Executive Secretary of the state Pension Bureau should step aside to allow for proper investigation into the activities of the ministry and agencies.

Meanwhile, after the adoption of the report, the Speaker, Dahiru, directed the Assembly Clerk to immediately transmit the House recommendations to Governor Sani and urged the governor to implement the recommendations diligently.

El-Rufai’s media aide, Adekeye, while refuting the allegation by the Assembly in a statement sent to The PUNCH, said, “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.

“They were 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 hard-working 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.”

Africa Today News, New York

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