El-Rufai siphoned N423bn, Kaduna assembly alleges, ex-aide kicks 

Kaduna State House of Assembly has indicted the immediate past governor of the state, Nasir el-Rufai, and several of his commissioners and aides, after receiving the report of the ad-hoc committee set up to probe all finances, loans and contracts awarded under his administration. 

 Presenting the report  Wednesday during plenary, chairman of the ad-hoc committee and deputy speaker of the House, Hon. Henry Magaji Danjuma, said most of the loans obtained under the el-Rufai 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, Speaker of the House, Hon. Yusuf Liman, said N423 billion of the state resources was siphoned under el-Rufai government, leaving the state with huge liabilities.

He asked Governor Uba Sani to refer the former governor, former commissioner of finance and other indicted aides to relevant security agencies for thorough investigation.

The committee’s report, which was adopted and its recommendations forwarded to the state governor for action reads: “The Governor of Kaduna state between 29th May, 2015 to 29th May, 2023 as the Chief Executive Officer of the State breached his Oath of Office contained in the 7th Schedule to the Constitution (as amended) and failed to exercise due discretion in the administration of the state thereby indulged in: 1. Plunging the state into unwanted, unjustified and fraudulent domestic and foreign debts over and above the total loans obtained by Kaduna state from 1965 to 1999 and majority of which were obtained without due process.

“Reckless awards of contracts without due process and due execution leading to several abandoned projects despite payments. Authorised the humongous withdrawals of cash both in Naira and dollars with no records of utilization and denied the state of the needed resources for development. Complicit activities with commissioners and heads of parastatals to defraud the state by issuing directives to KADPPA to circumvent due process in the payment of contractors vide letter dated 21st June, 2021. 

“Diversion of funds and money laundering contrary to all extant laws and regulations and accordingly should be referred to the law enforcement agencies for in-depth investigation and appropriate action.”

The committee recommended that the current Commissioner for Finance, current Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) 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.

“Evidence has shown 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 and hereby recommends as follows:-1. To direct the Kaduna Internal Revenue Service to withdraw the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) account domiciled at Zenith Bank as security for N20 billion guaranteed in 2023 forthwith and to request the bank to refund all monies deducted on account of the purported illegal guarantee together with the accrued interest thereof.

“That all the commissioners of finance of the state from 29th May, 2015 to 29th May, 2023 be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agencies for thorough investigation. That all the accountant generals of the state from 29th May, 2015 to 29th May, 2023 be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agencies for investigation. That the Chairmen of Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service (KADIRS) from 2018 to 2023 be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agencies for thorough investigation.

“That the current Commissioner of Finance, Kaduna state do step aside to allow for proper investigation into the activities of the Ministry from 29th May, 2015 to 29th May, 2023. That the current Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) do step aside to allow for 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 KAPSCO whose whereabouts is not known, be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agencies for investigation into her handling of the affairs of the Company and for the recovery of all government properties in her possession. That 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).

“That all the Managing Directors of Kaduna Roads Agency (KADRA) from 11th October, 2017 to November, 2021 with the exception of Engineer Amina Ja’afar Ladan, who only spent a month in office, be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agencies for 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.

“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.

That 15 contractors should 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.

“That the unjustified cash withdrawals to the tune of N4,936,916,333.00 between 2019 to 2022 by commissioner of finance and the accountant general of the state be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agencies for in-depth investigation and necessary action. That the unjustified withdrawals of the sum of $1.4 million from the Kaduna State Economic Transformation Account No. 0809009141 for the period of 30/10/2020 – 06/05/2020 be referred to the relevant law enforcement agencies for in-depth investigation and appropriate action.

“That Mr. Jimmy Lawal, senior adviser-counsellor to the Governor of Kaduna state from May, 29th 2015 to May 29th 2023, who was saddled with the coordination of the activities of governments, ministries and agencies albeit without any constitutional role, abused the trust bestowed on him and used the opportunity to introduce dubious companies to which he secured the award of several contracts at outrageous amount and which contracts were abandoned after payment of substantial contractual sums, diversion of funds meant for execution of projects thereby defrauding the Kaduna state government, be referred to the relevant law enforcement agencies for thorough investigation and necessary action,” the committee further recommended.

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

…Ex-gov served with integrity – Ex-aide

And speaking in defence of his former boss, the former governor’s special adviser on media and communication, Muyiwa Adekeye, dismissed the assembly’s findings, insisting his erstwhile boss served the state with integrity.

He described the report as “scandalous claims being aired as the report of the committee.”

“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.

“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,” Adekeye said.

He further added:  “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 hardworking 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.”