EFCC Witness Testifies Against el-Rufai

el-Rufai

Malam Nasir El-Rufai, Kaduna State Governor

Mr. Sunday Idowu, a prosecution witness in the trial of former Minister of the FCT, Nasir el-Rufai, told an Abuja High Court that el-Rufai did not declare all his assets to the Code of Conduct Bureau.

el-Rufai

Idowu, an EFCC officer who led the investigations for the arraignment of el-Rufai and two others, said that the accused only declared one instead of the nine plots of land after he left office in 2007.

Arraigned with el-Rufai are Altine Jibrin, former Director-General of the Abuja Geographical Information System (AGIS) and former General Manager, Ismail Iro.

The EFCC is charging the trio for abuse of public office and illegal conversion of a land meant for the construction of transmitting/injection sub-stations of the PHCN at Plot 1201 of Asokoro.

el-Rufai is accused of allocating 10 plots of land in Asokoro District in various sizes to his family members, including his two wives, Hadiza and Hasiya.

The EFCC claimed that he committed the offence between 2003 and 2007.

At the resumed hearing presided over by Justice Abubakar Umar, the EFCC said that investigations also revealed that el-Rufai was on the Board of the Directors of four firms that benefited from the Asokoro land allocation.

Led in evidence by EFCC counsel, Adebayo Adelodun (SAN), Idowu told the court that investigations at the Corporate

Affairs Commission, also linked el-Rufai to the ownership of System Property Development Company.

Other companies owned by the accused, according to Idowu, are Micro-duct Nigeria Ltd, Pure Environmental Services Ltd and Express Procurement Nigeria Ltd.

“These companies got some choice land scattered in the highbrow area of Asokoro district where the PHCN sub-station was supposed to be built,’’ Idowu added.

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Another EFCC witness, Mohammed Alhassan, a former Executive Secretary of the FCDA, while being cross-examined by el-Rufai’s counsel, Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN), maintained that el-Rufai ignored his advice.

Alhassan told the court that he advised el-Rufai against diverting the plot of land allocated to the PHCN to other purpose.

“But the former Minister ignored my advice,” he added.

The court through Alhassan, admitted a letter written by Julius Berger Plc to the FCDA, dated Jan. 26, 2007. The letter was a reminder that the plot of land in dispute in Asokoro District, Abuja, was earmarked for PHCN.

The second document tendered was a letter written by the Engineering Department of FCDA, to the Secretary, Planning Department, FCDA, dated April 28, 2007.

Alhassan also presented to the court a memo he wrote to el-Rufai, dated Feb. 6, 2007, advising him not to alter the Master Plan.

Reading the memo in the court, Alhassan said: “Mr Minister may wish to consider reversing the approval granted to redesign the area and return the land to status quo.”

Also during cross examination by Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), counsel to the second accused (Jibrin) and third accused (Iro), Alhassan agreed that the power to allocate and revoke land in the FCT was vested in the minister.

Umar adjourned the case to April 25 and April 26 at the instance of Agabi and ordered the Legal Department of the FCDA to produce the certified true copies of the two memos written to el Rufai by Alhassan.

The judge also ordered the Department of Land and Planning to produce the original site plan for the PHCN sub-station in Asokoro.

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