Senate FCT Probe Re-echoes Panel To Recoup N32bn From El-Rufai

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About ten years after leaving office as Minister of Federal Capital Territory, FCT, the Senate FCT Committee Probe, which compelled Nasir El-Rufai to refund N32 billion allegedly missing from proceeds in the sale of Federal Government houses, but which was not implemented, has been brought to front burner.

The recommendations of the Senate Committee on FCT, which probed the affairs of the ministry of FCT administration under El-Rufai, alleged that the minister sold most of the government houses to himself and his cronies, and made to sign 100 Certificates of Occupant on the eve of his departure from office.

The statement, which is contained in the PowerSteering Magazine of March, 2017, edition is titled “FCT probe: Senate Panel Wants El-Rufai to refund N32 bn.”

The Committee, according to the PowerSteering, page 35, column 4, also recommended that one of the guest houses of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, bought by El-Rufai, be retrieved from him for abusing the office by his actions. It stated that “The recommendations were contained in the Interim Report of the committee, which probed the FCT administration between 1999 and 2007.”

The then Senate Committee chairman, Abubakar Sodangi, had presented the report to Senate on July 10th, 2008, but was not debated before the chamber went on recess.

The recommendations, which had branded El-Rufai as’ unfit for public office,’ reads in parts: “All officers, who disobeyed or ordered the disobedience of court orders should be prosecuted by Attorney-General of the Federation.

“Also, on the sale of Federal Government houses, the total receipt is N96.7 billion, and deductions were N32.2billion. 

“The balance was given as N62.19 billion. The bank statements show only N27 billion, leaving a balance of only N32bn uncounted for.

“After assessing the activities of Nasir El-Rufai in his duties as Minister of FCT, we came to inevitable conclusion that he should account for all funds collected by the ad-hoc bodies he raised during his tenure, namely, Abuja Geographical Information System, AGIS, committee on sale of government houses in FCT, Satellite Town Development Agency, Abuja Investment and Property Company, among others. 

“The house (El-Rufai) obtained for himself where he signed as lessor and lessee be revoked, as a person cannot sell items to himself. El-Rufai is not fit and proper person to hold office in a democratic set up,” it added. 

It also stressed that, four years ago, the House of Representatives had also barred El-Rufai from holding any public office for life over his role in the contract to Pentascope to manage NITEL, following the adoption of the recommendations of its committee on communications, which held public hearing on the alleged fraud in the selection of a management contractors, the manner in which Pentascope emerged, as well as the loss of over N100 billion by NITEL in the process.

The House, it stated, unanimously agreed with the committee that El-Rufai “acted in subterfuge and, in perpetuating executive rascality, he positioned the Pentascope to squander over N100 billion of tax payers’ money, and as such should not go unpunished.”

The Committee’s outcome also barred former board chairman of NITEL, Vincent Maduka, Bernard Verr and S. Osiungo from holding public office for life, and in which El-Rufai was Director-General for BPE when the contract was awarded.

The question, in the lips of many spirited Nigerians that consistently has not been answered is, whether or not President Muhammadu Buhari will agree to probe the $252 Sale of NITEL with El-Rufai’s involvement?

El-Rufai had, in August 2013, urged him (Buhari) to retire from partisan politics, described Buhari as too old and has nothing to offer Nigeria anymore. 

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