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Kaduna Assembly tells El-Rufai aides to prepare their defence

The Kaduna State House of Assembly on Wednesday asked aides to the former governor of the state, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, to prepare to defend themselves before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and other related commissions or tribunals.

The State House of Assembly has expressed concern over the futile attempt by former political appointees to “debunk” the report of the inquiry which accused the former administration of alleged mismanagement of state funds worth N423 billion.

The Punch reports that former aides to El-Rufai said the Sani administration has been tapping into several foreign loans facilitated by the previous government in the state.

The former officials dismissed allegations that the El-Rufai government recalled the loans before leaving office in May 2023, while describing as unfair and irresponsible the allegation by the Kaduna State House of Assembly that the previous government mismanaged state funds of N423 billion.

However, the Kaduna House of Assembly, through its Adhoc Committee Chairman, Henry Magaji, in a statement issued in the state capital on Wednesday, insisted that the committee did a thorough job which uncovered monumental theft allegedly perpetrated by the previous administration in the state.

Magaji, who is also the Deputy Speaker of the House, added that an attempt to dismiss the committee’s work will not work, urging El-Rufai’s former aides to deploy their energies in preparing their defence before the EFCC, ICPC or the court, as the case may be.

According to him, the House, in compliance with its constitutional mandate and in response to public demand, carried out a thorough investigation into the huge debts incurred by the immediately preceding administration without commensurate projects.

He said the house dug deep and unearthed the monumental theft carried out in the state under the guise of project execution which revealed a litany of poorly executed projects, abandoned projects and projects that only exist in the imagination of “executive fraudsters.”

Magaji said: “The attention of the Kaduna State House of Assembly has been drawn to a press conference attended by some top political officials of the former Malam Nasir El-Rufai administration. At the press conference, the former political officials made great efforts to find loopholes in the report of the Committee of Inquiry.

“They resorted to insults and wild accusations about the motivations behind the House investigation. We want to state the following: the press conference was simply a repetition of the insults and insinuations hurled at us by the former political officials at their first press conference.

“There was nothing new to justify our response. They did not address the core problem, which is the systematic and coordinated grabbing of Kaduna State resources through bogus contracts and outright looting.”

He added that the former governor’s aides failed to address the core problem, which was the systematic and coordinated grabbing of Kaduna State resources through bogus contracts and blatant looting.

He said: “The State Legislature, in accordance with its constitutional mandate and in response to public demand, conducted a thorough investigation into the huge debts incurred by the immediately preceding administration without commensurate projects.

“We investigated thoroughly and uncovered the monumental theft perpetrated in Kaduna State under the guise of project execution. Our findings revealed a litany of poorly executed projects, abandoned projects and projects that only exist in the imagination of the executive fraudsters.”

He added: “We have called on the anti-corruption agencies to intervene and invite the accused persons for questioning. It is the anti-corruption agencies that can validate or refute our findings, not the individuals who spent their days in public office hoarding the common wealth of the people of Kaduna State and mortgaging the future of their children and grandchildren.

“We urge the former political officials to use their energies to prepare their defence before the anti-corruption agencies and ultimately before 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 power, disrespect for the law and due process levelled against them.

“We are currently in court with the head of the indicted administration, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, over the issue of fair hearing. We will not comment on the matter because it is sub iudice. 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 are not representing anyone but themselves.

“If they really had an interest in Kaduna State and were truly men and women of integrity, they would have dedicated themselves to developing the state instead of participating in the alleged plunder of its meager resources.”

Recall that an ad hoc committee set up by the state House of Assembly to investigate all finances, loans and contracts awarded during the tenure of the immediately preceding governor had accused El-Rufai and some of his appointees of diverting N423 billion of state funds.

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

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission subsequently set up a panel to investigate the alleged fraud.

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