June 15, 2024

Report of fraud against us very shameful – El-Rufai’s Commissioners slam Kaduna Assembly


Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor

Former Kaduna State commissioners under the government of Nasir El-Rufai, on Friday slammed the state House of Assembly for allegedly concocting a report to convict them of money laundering when there is no element of truth in the said report.

The Assembly had accused the administration of el-Rufai of diverting billions of Naira and subjecting the state to unbearable debt arising from foreign loans.

But the former commissioners, Jafaru Ibrahim Sani of the Ministry of Environment, Hafsat Mohammed Baba of the Ministry of Human Services and Social Development and Umma Yusuf Aboki of the Planning and  Budget Commission, who spoke on behalf of the Stat Executive Council members from 2015 to 2023, vehemently disagreed with the indictment, saying there was no iota of truth in the said report.

At a press conference in Avuja, the SEC members not only described the indictment as tissues of lies but they also dismissed the report in its entirety.

They challenged the ad-hoc committee to release the certified true copy of the report and serve them with copies if indeed they are serious about the matter.

Jafaru Sani, who spoke on behalf of the former commissioners, described the report as the outcome of a process motivated by malice and conducted with patent unfairness, adding that it is riddled with falsehood, predetermined conclusions, and misrepresentation.

Sani said, “Not a kobo, speak less of N423bn, was ever siphoned out of Kaduna State Government coffers during our tenure.

“The Ad Hoc Committee indulged in voodoo accounting merely to concoct a scandal,” Sani said.

“We note that this same Kaduna State House of Assembly received and accepted the Audited Accounts of the State for each year from 2015 to 2022 but now wants the public to disregard the formal, legally and constitutionally recognised public accounts of the State in favour of its wishy-washy, malicious, but incompetent and poorly calculated attempt at legislative character assassination”.

Speaking on the loans, he said that the government of Malam Nasir El-Rufai inherited external debts of $234m in 2015 and  followed due process in securing its loans and the testimony of Aminu Shagali, who was the Speaker between June 2015 and early 2020 confirm this.

He said, “To enhance the delivery of its progressive governance agenda for Kaduna State, the El-Rufai administration approached the World Bank for credit.

“The Board of the World Bank approved the credit in June 2017 as a Performance for Result credit of $350m. “The conditions for the grant of this credit were entirely performance-driven.

“Kaduna State is the only subnational in Nigeria that has received this kind of credit. “Like other loans raised by the El-Rufai administration, Sani said, the $350m World Bank Performance-for-Result (P4R) loan was utilised adequately to further the development of Kaduna State.

The documentation submitted in support of the loan application, he said, was subjected to the due scrutiny of the fiscal authorities of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the board of the World Bank.

He stated that after  the P4R programme, which ran from 2017 to 2021, the World Bank rated its implementation as satisfactory.

The former commissioners citrd the massive infrastructure projects under the Urban Renewal Programme among the most visible fruits of the loan.

Sani said, “The Report put the foreign loan exposure of the State at $578.14m but went on to attribute foreign loans amounting to over $2bn to the El-Rufai Administration.

“The report also listed loans, totalling over $600m that were secured, but with NOT A CENT DISBURSED to the State before the exit of the El-Rufai Administration in May 2023:

The loans include: $280m for the Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP), $150m for the Special Agro-Processing Zone (SAPZ) $130.7m for the Bus Rapid Transport System, $62.8m for the Reaching out of School Children (ROOSC) Project and $20m for the Livestock Productivity and Resilience Project (LPRES), which he said was not used by the administration before handing over in May 2023.

Sani contended that it was not too late for the current administration in Kaduna State to contract out of these loans since it has such an aversion to borrowing. :Other States in Nigeria may then be able to benefit from the same,” Sani said angrily.

He pointed out that it was based on the loans taken by the last administration that have made it possible for the current government to have any project to showcase to the world as its achievements in the last one year and nothing more.