N423bn probe: “Prepare your defence”, Kaduna Assembly tells el-Rufa’i’s aides

Kaduna Assembly to el Rufa'i

Kaduna State House of Assembly yesterday requested aides to the immediate-past governor of the State, Nasir el-Rufa’i to prepare towards defending themselves before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Commission, (ICPC), or court.

El Rufa'i’s son to Tinubu2

The State Assembly expressed concern over the former political appointees’ futile attempt to ‘rubbish’ the probe report which indicted the former administration’s alleged mismanagement of N423bn State funds.

Recall that el-Rufai’s former aides said that Sani’s administration has been drawing from the various foreign loans facilitated by the immediate-past government in the State.

The ex-officials dismissed accusations that the el-Rufa’i government drew down the loans before it exited office in May 2023, just as they described as unfair and irresponsible the allegation by the State House of Assembly that the former government mismanaged N423bn State funds.

Kaduna Assembly to el Rufa'i2

However, the Kaduna Assembly, through its Ad-hoc Committee Chairman, Henry Magaji, in a statement issued in the State capital yesterday, insisted that the committee did a thorough work which unearthed a monumental heist allegedly perpetrated by the former administration in the State.

Magaji, who is also the Deputy Speaker of the House added that an attempt to rubbish the work of the committee won’t work, urging el-Rufa’i’s former aides to deploy their energies towards preparing their defence before the EFCC, ICPC or court as the case may be.

According to him, the House, in line with its constitutional mandate and in response to public demand, carried out a thorough probe into the humongous debts incurred by the immediate-past administration without commensurate projects.

He said the House dug deep and unearthed the monumental heist carried out in the State in the guise of project execution, which revealed a litany of poorly executed projects, abandoned projects, and projects that exist only in the imagination of “Executive scammers”.

Magaji said, “The attention of the Kaduna State House of Assembly has been drawn to a press conference addressed by some senior political appointees of the immediate-past administration of Nasir el-Rufa’i. In the press conference, the former political appointees made strenuous efforts to pick holes in the report of the Probe Committee.

“They resorted to name calling and wild allegations on the motivations for the House Probe. We wish to state as follows: The press conference was just a rehash of the vituperations and innuendoes heaped on us by the former political appointees in their first press briefing.

“There was nothing new that should warrant our response. They failed to address the main issue, which is the systematic and coordinated cornering of the resources of Kaduna State through phoney contracts and outright looting”.

He stated, “The State House of Assembly, in line with its constitutional mandate and in response to public demand, carried out a thorough probe into the humongous debts incurred by the immediate past administration without commensurate projects.

“We dug deep and unearthed the monumental heist carried out in Kaduna State in the guise of project execution. Our findings revealed a litany of poorly executed projects, abandoned projects, and projects that exist only in the imagination of Executive scammers”.

He added, “We have called on anti-corruption agencies to step in and invite indicted persons for questioning. It is the anti-corruption agencies that can either validate or disprove our findings, not individuals who spent their days in public office cornering the common patrimony of the people of Kaduna State and mortgaging the future of its children and grandchildren.

“We urge the former political appointees to deploy their energies towards preparing their defences before the anti-corruption agencies, and eventually the courts. The House of Assembly is not in a battle of wits with them. We have done our duty to the people of Kaduna State. Let them answer to the charges of malfeasance, abuse of office, disrespect for the law and due process levelled against them.

“We are currently in court with the head of the indicted administration, Nasir el-Rufa’I, over the issue of fair hearing. We shall not comment on the matter because it is sub-judice. We stand for the rule of law and due process. The few political appointees who have been making desperate but futile moves to denigrate the House and cover-up the alleged fraud perpetrated by the previous government represent no one but themselves.

“If they genuinely have the interest of Kaduna State and are truly men and women of integrity, they would have applied themselves to developing the state instead of participating in the alleged pilfering of its scarce resources”.

Recall that an ad-hoc committee set up by the State House of Assembly to investigate all finances, loans and contracts awarded under the immediate-past governor had indicted el-Rufa’i and some of his appointees of siphoning N423bn State funds.

The Assembly, while adopting the report of the 13-man panel, asked the state governor to refer el-Rufa’i, his finance commissioner and other aides to relevant security agencies for investigation.

The EFCC subsequently set up a panel to investigate the alleged fraud.

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