Kaduna APC, El-Rufai drag Yero to EFCC over alleged N2.7b fraud
ALLEGING misappropriation of funds, the Transition Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Governor-elect, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, have dragged Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for the investigation of over N2.744 billion Subsidy Reinvestment Empowerment Project (SURE-P) funds, which the governor asked the Kaduna State House of Assembly to appropriate for spending.
Besides, the deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Ambassador Nuhu Bajoga, who defended his boss, Yero, in an interview yesterday, said that the N2.744 billon has not been touched, pointing out that the move for probe by the El-Rufai incoming government was a waste of time, since the Assembly has already passed the law and was waiting for the Clerk of the House, Mr. Umma Hikima, to sign it into law.
The petition against the state governor was signed by the state APC Chairman, Alhaji Balarabe Abbas Lawal, and addressed to the chairman of EFCC.
Titled “The attempt to misappropriate SURE-P funds in Kaduna State”, the petition reads: “I write to bring to your attention the elaborate steps being taken by the outgoing Kaduna State government to legitimise the misappropriation of N2.744 billion Local Government Areas (LGAs) SURE-P funds, and to request that you exercise your responsibility of deterring crime by preventing this last minute looting of public assets.”
“The Kaduna State House of Assembly declined to appropriate the SURE-P funds in the 2015 budget, and promptly removed them from the budgets submitted by the 23 local councils. “The state legislators further resolved that the fate of the funds be left to the incoming administration.
“The outgoing governor, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, however has been putting the legislature under tremendous pressure to approve his utilisation of 50 per cent of the SURE-P funds for a road project, while the 23 local councils would share the balance.” “Coming from a government whose tenure expires in less than two weeks, the intensity of the lobby for the money indicates a certain desperation that is clearly not in the public interest.
“I wish to therefore request that you urgently investigate whether the SURE-P funds are still intact, or if they have been spent without appropriation thus necessitating a belated approval from the House of Assembly to provide a ‘legal’ means of retiring the funds.
“If, as it is widely believed in the state, the monies have already been spent, it is crucial to determine the projects, the contractors and the procurement processes that facilitated such a deliberate hemorrhaging of public funds,” reads the petition in conclusion.
Speaking on behalf of Governor Yero, Ambassador Bajoga said: “That money they are talking about is intact.
Nobody has touched it. We are seeking for the appropriation of the money so that we can give the local councils 50 percent and use the rest 50 percent to fund, mainly the Kawo township road project.
“They are just wasting their time, because the House of Assembly has already approved the spending, and we are only waiting for the clerk of the Assembly to append, that is all.
“The incoming government will even discover that what we are doing is in its own interest, as it will take credit for completing the projects. We are not afraid to defend this issue.”