El-Rufai Refutes Alleged N423 billion Loan Fraud  … says, report malicious

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El-Rufai refutes Alleged N423 billion loan Fraud

… says, report malicious

From Adetutu Folasade-Koyi, Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

The immediate past governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has dismissed fraudulent allegations of laundering N423 billion levied against him by the ad-hoc committee of the State House of Assembly, emphasising that he did not siphon a dime let alone the money in question.

A 13-member ad-hoc committee set up to examine the loans, grants and project implemented by El-Rufai, had recently, during a plenary, recommended probe of the former State governor for alleged division of the public funds to the tune of N423 billion in addition to money laundering.

El-Rufai, who spoke through three

Commissioners that served under him, comprising Jafaru Ibrahim Sani of Ministry of Environment, Hafsat Mohammed Baba of Human Services and Social Development and Umma Yusuf Aboki of Planning and Budget Commission, refuted the allegations at a press conference in Abuja on Friday.

They accused the ad-hoc committee of indulging in voodoo accounting merely to concoct the scandal, insisting that not a kobo, speak less of N423 billion was ever siphoned out of Kaduna State government coffers during their tenure.

“Contrary to the allegations, we affirm that

there is no basis for the wild claims about money laundering. This baseless allegation is the peak of the defamatory agenda to which the ad-hoc Committee and the Kaduna State House of Assembly willingly lent themselves as spineless accomplices.

“It is crafted to sound weighty, but it is just

hot air pushed out to excite passions and stoke outrage. Not a shred of evidence was produced by anyone before the Committee to justify this malicious claim that was plucked out of the air.

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“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,” the Commissioners noted.

Discrediting the report further, the Commissioners noted that; “In spite of repeated requests and inquiries from us and various colleagues of ours, no certified true copy of this report has been released to any persons who were mentioned in the report or who testified before the Ad-hoc Committee in response to its summons or who were indicted (some without ever being summoned or heard by the Ad Hoc Committee).

“In the light of non-release to us of the certified copy of the report, this statement relies on the document referred to above that began circulating on social media shortly after the Kaduna State House of Assembly adopted the said document on Wednesday, 5th June 2024. We affirm the integrity of the administration in which we served the people of Kaduna State between under the leadership of Malam El-Rufai.”

“In eight years, this administration in which we were greatly privileged to serve impacted Kaduna State with innovations that accelerated the modernisation of the State, prioritised human capital development, expanded its infrastructure, improved its business standing, promoted equality of opportunity.

They defended the government of El-Rufai, claiming that; “he inherited external debts of USD234 million in 2015. It followed due process in securing its loans and the testimony of Aminu Shagali, who was the Speaker between June 2015 and early 2020 confirms this!

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“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 (P4R) credit of USD350 million. The conditions for the grant of this credit were entirely performance-driven. Kaduna State is so far the only subnational in Nigeria that has received this kind of credit.

“Like other loans raised by the El-Rufai administration, the USD 350 million World Bank Performance-for-Result (P4R) loan was properly utilised in furtherance of the development of Kaduna State. The documentation submitted in support of the loan application was subjected to the due scrutiny of the fiscal authorities of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the board of the World Bank.

“At the conclusion of the P4R programme which ran from 2017 to 2021, the World Bank rated its implementation as satisfactory. Amongst the most visible fruits of this loan are the massive infrastructure projects under the Urban Renewal Programme. iii) The Report put the foreign loan exposure of the State at

USD578.14 million but went on to attribute foreign loans amounting to over USD2bn to the El-Rufai Administration.

“It cited an XDR (World Bank Special Drawing Rights) 494.6m loan for the Agro-Climatic Resilience Semi-Arid Landscapes (ACReSAL) programme, of which only USD2m was disbursed before 29 May 2023, and all of which was left intact for the incoming government; thereby simultaneously demonstrating ignorance of the nature of Special Drawing Rights and grossly exaggerating amounts disbursed to the State.

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“The report also listed the following loans totalling over USD600m that were secured, but with NOT A CENT DISBURSED in the past year? Is it logical or credible to disclaim and ridicule loan-taking while basking in the projects paid for by these same loans?”

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