El-Rufai vs EFCC
The Facts Speak for Themselves
1. On 18 Oct, 2008, the EFCC vide a letter with reference number (CR:3000/EFCC/ABJ/BF.2/Vol.33/
i. Allocation of so-called PHCN land
ii. Allocation of NIPOST land
2. In a reply to this invitation dated 28th Nov., 2008, on behalf of my client Mallam El-Rufai, I intimated the commission about the strenuous nature of his studies abroad and impending Fall Term examinations he was about to take. I requested from the commission a questionnaire on the two subjects for my client through me, which he would gladly fill and assured that I will be at hand constantly to clarify any issue perturbing the commission since I am knowledgeable of the matter.
3. Strangely and most inexplicably, the EFCC proceeded to issue a 2 week ultimatum to El-Rufai to appear before it or it will declare him a wanted man for a matter that has endured for 2 or more years, is not of urgent national importance, and with a lawyer who has comprehensive documentary brief at hand to speak on his behalf at the EFCC.
4. Feeling apprehensive about the strange logic and difficult to explain nature behind this ultimatum, El-Rufai approached the Federal High Court on 15thDecember, 2008 for the enforcement of his fundamental human rights which are now under severe threat. Court papers were duly served the EFCC on 16thDec., 2008 (copy attached).
5. In a bizarre and most disturbing turn of events, the EFCC, in utter disregard of a court order, validly served it, and as a servant of an administration that prides itself as a respecter of rule of law and due process, proceeded to declare El-Rufai wanted with fanfare, and in all available mass media channels, not for only the so-called PHCN and NIPOST matters for which he was invited to appear before it, but also for an unrelated issue of N32 billion proceeds from the sales of FGN properties in the FCT which has never been an issue between the EFCC and El-Rufai.
6. Regarding the issue of the N32 billion alleged unaccounted for proceeds from the sales of the FGN properties which the EFCC is now clutching unto as the basis for its ill-advised and illegal action, the records show the following:
i. Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai was FCT Minister Between July, 2003 to May 2007 and supervised the Ad-Hoc Committee on the Sale of FGN Houses in Abuja during the period.
ii. The Committee for the sale of FGN Houses in the FCT functioned under El-Rufai's chairmanship between 2005 and May 2007. The sales processes were handled by public servants and all the proceeds of sale were collected by the Chairmen of the Ad-Hoc Committee (Dr. Abdu Mukhtar and Mr. Abbas Umar – who are still in the service of the FCTA). The FCT Director of Treasury, Mr. Ibrahim Ibrahim Habu Sule handled all financial matters relating to the proceeds of sale. He is still in the service of the FCTA.
iii. The Gross receipt as at 31st May, 2007 stood at N55.88 Billion, from the seven rounds of public biddings. Walk in sales was also conducted in May, 2007. These accounts were jointly audited by Akintola Williams, Deloitte, Touche and Aminu Ibrahim & Co., and submitted to the Incoming Administration.
iii. It seems that the genesis of the alleged missing N32 Billion stems from the report of FCT Senate Committee that conducted public hearings on FCT Administrations (1999 – 2007). On page 44 of its report the committee claimed that:
"also on sale of FGN Houses, the total receipt is 96.7 Billion and deductions were N34.2 Billion and the balance was given as N62.198B The Bank statements show only N29 Billion, leaving a balance sum of N32 Billion unaccounted for despite all demands from him Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai and his officers."
iv. Not only are these statements false, and this is partly why we have challenged the validity, fairness and legality of the entire report, in the Federal High Court - but no one ever requested the officers named above (still in FCTA's service, and not "El-Rufai and his officers") to provide any information which was not furnished.
v. It is clear that the Senate Committee reached it's conclusion based on a submission of the FCT Adhoc Committee on sale of Government Houses, containing updated records of transactions up to April 2008. By this submission, total receipts have grown from about N55 billion to N96.74 Billion over 73% from the situation in March, 2007. Most of these collections were made in the nearly one year that Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai was no longer Minister of FCT.
v. Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai wishes to place it on record that the Senate Committee, EFCC or any other body never at any point requested him to clarify or explain any issue relating to proceeds of sales of FGN houses. Even if they did he can only account for what happened when he was a Minister, and certainly not thereafter.
vi. The submission of the FCT Adhoc Committee on sale of FGN houses to the Senate Committee clearly accounted for the N96.7 Billion received at April, 2008 (and El-Rufai has nothing to do with collections beyond May, 2007) as the following data shows:
|2||Transfer to CBN (75%)||19,145,104,978.97|
|3||Transfer to FCT (25%)||6,381,701,659.66|
|5||Refunds (to 2,191 persons)||6,734,636,354.26|
|6||Returned Drafts and Bank Charges||214,423,222.66|
d) Application Fee
It is clear that there was no basis for the Senate Committee to declare N32 Billion "unaccounted for", and even if there are explanations to be made, it is for those in charge after May 2007 to do so. This is simply an attempt to smear El-Rufai's reputation by blaming him for the incompetence, greed and sloppiness of his successor.
vii. Interestingly, the immediate supervising Minister in charge of FCT, Mr. Remi Babalola, was reported to have publicly declared that the accounts for the sale of FGN houses have been fully reconciled and N46 Billion was recovered and transferred to FGN accounts with CBN. Even though this has nothing to do with Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai or his tenure as FCT Minister, a more pertinent question to ask will be how the money was recovered and under what circumstances? Where had the money gone to when El-Rufai was being accused of "not accounting" for it?
viii. It is also pertinent to remind every agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria that the issue of the legality of the smear campaign against El-Rufai, including "N32 billion unaccounted for", and indeed the entire Senate Committee's report are issues for determination before a Federal High Court, a matter that should ordinarily not attract this kind of commentary but for the EFCC's unwarranted action. During the substantive determination of the issues, we will evidence and witnesses that will answer some of the motives behind this whole charade, and will not want to say ay more.