Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai

BY VICTOR BUORO, ABUJA – An Abuja Federal High Court on Friday ruled that Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has no power within the law to stop or prevent the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from investigating him.

The Court presided over by Justice Binta Nyako, who gave the ruling while delivering  judgment in a suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/60/09 filed by Governor El-Rufai, declared that no court would stop the EFCC from investigating anyone in line with its constitutional mandate.

In the words of Justice Nyako;
“No court, including this one, will allow itself to be used to shield anybody from being investigated by the EFCC being 1st respondent.”

Governor El-Rufai had filed a suit before the Court in which he sought the court’s determination on whether when he was the minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), he had complied with the guidelines approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), for the sale of Federal Government houses between May 2005 and May 2007.

In the suit, El-Rufai, who is the applicant instituted a case against the EFCC as the 1st defendant with others 12 other defendants that include the FCT minister, Federal Capital Development Authority, Accountant General of the Federation, Central Bank of Nigeria, Oceanic Bank, Access Bank, Intercontinental Bank, Aso Savings and Loans Ltd, Union Homes, Akintola Williams Deloite and Aminu Ibrahim & Co.

In the originating summon brought pursuant to Section 302 of 1999 Constitution and Section 3 and 18 of the FCT Act 1990, El-Rufai further sought the court’s determination on “whether the proceeds of the sale of Federal Government houses in the FCT between May 2005 – May 2007 were properly accounted for or not in accordance with the FEC mandate and guidelines to the Federal Capital Territory Authority (FCTA).

“Whether the sum of N32 billion (or any sum whatsoever) is missing from the proceeds of the sale of Federal Government Houses in the FCT between May 2005 and May 2007.”

El-Rufai also sought the court’s relief for a declaration that the sale of Federal Government houses in the FCT was conducted in accordance with the Federal Executive Council mandate to the FCTA through the Ad hoc Committee for the sale of non-essential houses in Abuja.

He prayed the court for; “A declaration that the proceeds of the sale of the said Federal Government houses conducted by the Ad hoc Committee on Sale of Government Houses in Abuja between 2005 and 2007 were properly accounted for in accordance with the mandate and guidelines approved by the FEC.

“A declaration that the Audit Report prepared by the 12th and 13th respondents on the sale of Federal Government Houses in the FCT confirmed that the Sale of Federal Government houses in FCT compiled with the approved guidelines for the sale of Federal Government properties in FCT and the proceeds were properly accounted for.

“A declaration that the proceeds of sale of Federal Government Houses in FCT between May 2005 and May 2007 were properly apportioned and accounted for in accordance with the approved guidelines as confirmed by the Audit Report of the 12th and 13th respondents, dated July 20, 2007.

“A declaration that the sum of N32 billion (or any sum whatsoever) from the proceeds of the sale of Federal Government of Nigeria Houses in FCT between May 2005 and 2007 is not missing.

“An order directing the 2nd respondent to disclose the exact amount remitted to the 5th respondent as the proceeds of the sale of Federal Government houses in the FCT between May 2005 and May 2007.

“An order directing the 5th respondent to disclose the exact amount received from the 2nd respondent as the proceeds of the sale of Federal Government houses in the FCT between May 2005 and May 2007.”

Justice Nyako, who had earlier granted El-Rufai’s prayers, however noted on Friday that the EFCC had called the court’s attention to its counter-affidavit in objection to the prayers.

The EFCC in its counter-affidavit, averred that the motive of El-Rufai, who is the applicant was to stop it from investigating him in order to cover up the alleged fraud perpetrated when he was minister of the Federal Capital Territory.

Justice ruled that while her earlier judgment still stands, added however that no Court would stop an investigating agency like the EFCC from carrying out its statutory function.

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