El-Rufai and alleged N423 billion graft

By Aliyu Adamu

He was larger than life as the governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-rufai, beamed an image of technocrat with taint of integrity until the reported deceptive cover was blown off by the State House of Assembly. El-Rufai, who claimed to be the builder of modern Kaduna, is being investigated for corruption allegations running into billions. He had a field day as governor, hoodwinking unsuspecting members of the public by his false Spartan lifestyle, tucked in ethnic and religious schism. He polarised the state for his selfish political advantage again, El-Rufai set the state, and the nation on the edge with his unguarded statements that have grave security and political consequences. 
He woefully failed as a unifying figure when he was the saddle as the governor, he openly displayed his hatred for a section of the state, and boasted that some persons of certain faith are inconsequential in the political and electoral equations of the State. Meanwhile, all these rhetorics and other public displays of simplicity like the enrolment of his child in public primary school in Kaduna State, were all facade to cover the monumental fraud perpetrated by him.
The day of reckoning came when the State Assembly set up an Ad hoc Committee to investigate the eight year tenure of terror of El-Rufai. In a formal communication issued by the Clerk of the Assembly, Sakinatu Hassan to the Kaduna State Commissioner of Finance outlining the terms of reference and the scope of the probe, the lawmakers will focus on the loans, financial transactions, contractual liabilities and other than matters that were obtained or awarded under the El-Rufai administration.
The statement reads, ‚ÄúThe Kaduna State House of Assembly at its 150th sitting on Tuesday, April 16, 2024, resolved and constituted an ad hoc committee to investigate loans, financial transactions, contractual liabilities and other related matters of the Government of Kaduna state from 29th May, 2015 to 29th May, 2023,‚ÄĚ the letter to the Honourable Commissioner partly read.
Among the requested documents by the committee include: (i) Total loans: Details from May 2015 to May 2023 including approvals by the Kaduna State House of Assembly, accounts into which the loans were lodged, and drawn as recorded by the project finance management unit and debt management office.
(ii) Executive minutes and resolutions; relevant state executive council minutes of meetings, council’s extracts and resolutions regarding the loans. (iii) Contractual payments: records of payments and outstanding liabilities to contractors for the period from May 2015 to May 2023.
(iv) Salary reports: reports of salaries paid to staff from 2016 t0 2022, v. Kadris reports: Dloyd reports on Kadris from 2015 to 2023 and loan terms and conditions: details on the terms, purpose and conditions of those loans.
The findings of the panel, as contained in the report that were made public early this month were mind-boggling,  it was revealed to the dismay of the world, and many who held El-rufai in high esteem, that the former governor mismanaged the whopping sum of N423 billion.  In the report submitted to the House by the chairman of the ad-hoc committee, Hon. Henry Danjuma, there was evidence of several cases of corruption in the running of the affairs of the Government, Ministries, Departments, and Agencies in Kaduna State from 29th May 2015 to 29th May 2023, when Mallam Nasir El-Rufai held sway as the governor of the State.
Disturbed by the unprecedented corruption in the history of the State, the Kaduna House of Assembly panel recommended that the former governor El-Rufai, alongside five commissioners of Finance, who served under him for the eight years should be taken in by the anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for, ‚Äú for a thorough investigation and necessary prosecution for plunging the state into unwanted, unjustified, and fraudulent domestic and foreign debts, diversion of funds, and money laundering contrary to all extant laws and regulations‚ÄĚ, adding that the embattled former governor El-Rufai breached his oath of office contained in the 7th Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended and failed to exercise due discretion in the administration of the state.
Among other far-reaching recommendations, the panel submitted that, “ “That, the Chairmen of Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service (KADIRS) from 2018 to 2023 be referred to the appropriate Law Enforcement Agencies for a thorough investigation.  That the current Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) do step aside to allow for a thorough and proper investigation into the activities of the Board from 29th May 2015 to 29th May 2023.
“That, the current Executive Secretary of the State Pension Bureau do step aside to allow for proper investigation into the activities of the Bureau from 29th May, 2015 to 29th May, 2023.
“That, all the Managing Directors of the Kaduna Market Development and Management Company Ltd from 29 May 2015 to 29th May 2023 be referred to the relevant law enforcement agencies for a thorough investigation into their handling of the affairs of the company.
“That, the coordinator of the Kaduna State Government’s Irrigation Programmes for the cultivation of Wheat at Ruwan Sanyi, Kubau Local Government Area in 2016 or thereabout, be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agencies for a thorough investigation.
“That, Ms. Dolapo Popoola, the immediate past Managing Director of AlL KAPSCO whose whereabouts is not known, be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agencies for an investigation into her handling of the affairs of the company and the recovery of all government properties in her possession.
‚ÄúThat, Mr. Muyiwa Adekeye, the Special Adviser to the Governor of Kaduna .. State on Media and Communication from 29th May 2015 to 29th May 2023 be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agencies for investigation on his involvement in the contracts in Kaduna State Media Corporation (KSMC).‚ÄĚ
The house further recommended that all the managing directors of Kaduna Roads Agency (KADRA) from 11th October 2017 to November 2021 except for Engineer Amina Ja’afar Ladan who only spent a month in office, be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agencies for an in-depth investigation into their roles in the award and poor execution of contracts during their tenure, while management and senior staff of the agency be redeployed to other relevant ministries and agencies.
The panel also recommended that all loans (Domestic and Foreign) obtained by the Kaduna State Government between 29th May 2015 to 29th May 2023 and found by the committee to have been obtained without due process are not binding on the State and the State Government should henceforth stop honouring all limit, obligations arising from them.
It also directed some contractors to refund to the Kaduna State Government a total sum of N36,351,126,811.65 being monies paid for work either not done, overpayment, or diversion. The can of worms uncovered by the House panel has further heighten the interests of the public as regard how former governor El-rufai managed the affairs of the state in eight years. The rebuttal by the former governor’s did little in redeeming the drowning reputation of the former governor. The allegations leveled against him are weighty; he should be bold enough to come out to clear his name.

‚ÄĘ Adamu writes from Kaduna State

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