Faces 8-count charge
By Emman Ovuakporie
ABUJAâ€”AFTER eight hours of grilling by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the former Minister of Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, was, yesterday, granted an administrative bail.
And in an attempt to shield the former minister from journalists, his driver droveÂ into media men who had waited all day long to interview him.
Spotting a white kaftan and a wine coloured cap, Mallam el-Rufai, had arrived the anti-graft agency at about 10.00 a.m to answer questions bordering on alleged misappropriation of government funds running into over N32billion.
El-Rufai who was accompanied by his lawyer, Mr. Abdul Akeem Mustapha and a few friends at the commission, however, did not appear until 2.06p.m when he came out for his prayers. He came out at about 3.55pm for his second prayers accompanied by his friends.
His wife, Aisha, brought his lunch at about 3.05p.m and later left the commission at about 5.55pm.
The former minister did not leave the agency until 7.15 p.m and was whisked away in a Mercedez Benz SUV jeep car with Kaduna number plate, BB 417 MKA.
His lawyer, on second thought, returned to tender an unreserved apology to journalists that el-Rufai was really sorry for his driverâ€™s attitude.
Mallam el-Rufai was expected to be arraigned tomorrow, but the anti graft agencyâ€™s spokesman, Femi Babafemi told Vanguard last night that the plan might be disrupted by the ongoing strike by judicial workers.
Cecilia Ibru at EFCC
Meanwhile former Chief Executive Officer of Oceanic Bank, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru, was brought to the EFCCâ€™s Headquarters by 11:30 a.m. in a Black Lexus Jeep, with a Lagos registration number MJ 02 AAA, and left at 11:40 a.m.
Allegations against el-Rufai
Allegations against El Rufai include alleged reallocation of a parcel of land No 1201, in Asokoro District and Plot 3352, at Maitama District, to his wife, associates and a company in which he had vested interest.
Some of the parcels of land were originally designated in the FCT Master Plan for power transmitting sub-station by the Power Holding Company, PHCN, and the Nigeria Postal Service.
It was learnt that identities of el-Rufaiâ€™s relatives who allegedly got choice plots in Asokoro, Wuse II, Maitama, Jabi, Kubwa, and Utako districts included: Hadiza Isma el_Rufai (Plot 3379 Asokoro); Bashir el_Rufai (Plot 1381 Wuse II); Aisha Ahmad el_Rufai (Plot 3376 Asokoro); Ibrahim el_Rufai (Plot 3677 Maitama); Binta Ahmed el_Rufai ( Plot 871 Jabi); Hadiza Isma el-Rufai (Plot 1417 Kubwa); Tijani Ahmed el_Rufai (Plot 4062 Bwari); Rufai Hanga (Plot 1132 Utako); Ali Rufai (Plot 3861 Asokoro); and Sani Ahmed Gwadu (Plot 363 Utako).
The ex-minister had appeared before the Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory, which investigated the sale of all Federal Government houses in Abuja, demolition of structures, revocation of titles and concession of properties between 1999 and 2007.
The Committee, led by Senator Abubakar Danso Sodangi, indicted the former minister.
But el-Rufai went to court to challenge the panelâ€™s report. The EFCC is to arraign el-Rufai before a Federal High Court, Abuja on an eight-count charge bordering on abuse of office.