Ignore El-Rufai, others with corruption allegations, group tells Tinubu 

A group under the aegis of Forum for Transparency and Accountability in Governance has urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu not to succumb to pressures by any politician with pending allegation of fraud related cases in court or at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) to be appointed into his cabinet in guise of party loyal member.

The call on the President was at the backdrop of the much expected list of Ministerial nominees by the 10th Senate which President Tinubu has a statutory period of 60 days to make the list available to the upper legislative Chamber for screening.

The transparency group in a statement jointly signed by its Convener, Dr Bala Musa Mustapha, Secretary General, Mr Nouel Malama and Director of Publicity, Nafisa Hamid Jika respectively, maintained that President Tinubu should tread with caution and not  appoint politicians with questionable character into his cabinet.

The group emphasized that the former Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Rufai should be kept at arm’s length and be isolated from the corridor of power if the present administration should be taken seriously, given that he is standing trial for allegedly embezzling N32 billion revenue from sales of Federal Government Houses between 2005 and 2007 when he was the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory.

The group recalled that Justice Binta Nyako-led Federal High Court ruled on 19th November, 2019, that Malam Nasir El-Rufai lacked powers to stop the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from investigating and prosecuting him over fraud allegations.

Justice Nyako in her judgement in a suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/60/09 which was filed by El-Rufai where he listed 13 respondents including the EFCC, FG and others, seeking to stop his prosecution, the Court in the celebrated judgement insisted that El-Rufai must account for the whereabout of N32 billion.

The forum maintained that the prosecution of El-Rufai was progressing at the Federal High Court until he became governor of Kaduna State in May 2015 when immunity of office halted it, insisting that now that he is out of office, the anti-graft agency ought to have resumed his prosecution, rather than contemplating offering him a Minister.

The group also added that the prosecution of El-Rufai followed a damning audit report by a World class audit firms; Akintola Williams Deloitte and Aminu Ibrahim & Co, where it was revealed that the sum of N32 billion proceeds of sales of Federal Government Houses is missing.

The statement read: “Any government that pride itself on probity and accountability should not be seen to patronize the likes of the former governor of Kaduna State.  It’s in the public domain that Malam Nasir El-Rufai is facing prosecution of N32 billion in Court.

 “Also, the former governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje is facing rejection over his dirty past involving dollar bribe and what is good for Ganduje should be good for El-Rufai.  We hope that President Tinubu will come out clean on El-Rufai issue, while we hope that he should not allow Nigerians to hit the streets before doing the right thing.

The group further called on the EFCC and other anti-graft agencies to rise to the occasion of prosecuting former and incumbent public officers who have pending cases, so that their actions would not be misinterpreted as selected prosecution of corrupt officials of government.

The former governor, Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai had in 2019 approached the Federal High Court seeking the court’s determination whether, as the then Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, he had complied with the guidelines approved by the Federal Executive Council for the sale of Federal Government houses between May 2005 and May 2007.

Meanwhile, Justice Binta Nyako while delivering justice, in a suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/60/09 ruled that Nasir El-Rufai, cannot stop the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission from investigating him.


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