Ex-El-Rufai Aides Refute N423bn Fraud Allegations, Detail Loan Utilization

Former aides of ex-Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai have refuted allegations of misappropriating N423 billion, as charged by the state’s House of Assembly.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Friday, the aides clarified that the World Bank loans were used for developmental projects and infrastructure, including the Urban Renewal Programme and various World Bank initiatives.

The Kaduna State House of Assembly had established an ad hoc committee to scrutinize the finances, loans, and contracts under El-Rufai’s tenure, which resulted in accusations against him and several of his appointees for allegedly diverting state funds.

The assembly’s 13-man panel recommended that Governor Uba Sani refer El-Rufai and his associates to security agencies for investigation.

In response, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission initiated a probe into the alleged fraud.

However, former officials, including ex-Commissioners Jafaru Sani, Hafsat Baba, Umma Aboki, and Bashir Saidu, criticized the assembly for not providing a certified true copy of the report despite multiple requests. They based their defense on a version of the report circulated on social media.

Jafaru Sani, the former Commissioner of Environment, detailed the proper use of the loans, emphasizing that the El-Rufai administration inherited USD 234 million in external debt in 2015 and followed due process in securing additional loans. He highlighted that the World Bank’s USD 350 million Performance-for-Result loan, approved in 2017, was meticulously utilized for Kaduna State’s development and received a satisfactory rating from the World Bank.

The statement also pointed out that many current projects were initiated by the El-Rufai administration, which adhered to the Kaduna State Public Procurement Authority Law. They criticized the committee for misinterpreting findings from a Deloitte audit and raised concerns about conflicts of interest within the committee, particularly noting that Mahmud Ismaila, a committee member, is the governor’s biological brother.


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