N32 Billion Scandal: El-Rufai says I'm not guilty, gets bail
Former minister of the Federal Capital Territory , Mallam Nasir El-Rufai on Wednesday appeared before Justice Adamu Bello of the Federal High Court, Abuja on an eight count corruption charges, pleading not guilty.
El-Rufai who was docked along Altine Jubrin, former Director General, Abuja Geographic Information System, AGIS, and Ismaila Iro, former General Manager, AGIS.
After taking their plea, counsel to the accused moved the motion for their bail. The trial judge however granted their bail application with conditions. They are to produce N100 million bond each, and a surety with a landed property worth N50 million each.
The judge also ruled that the three accused persons should be remanded in EFCC custody pending the fulfillment of their bail conditions.
Earlier, Justice Adamu, while ruling on an application filed by Akin Olujimi, SAN, counsel to the first accused person, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, challenging the ruling of the court which granted an order to the prosecution to paste the charges on El-Rufai's Abuja residence, said “the court has the power to grant the order it granted. The order was to facilitate the appearance of the accused person in court. It was granted within the jurisdiction of the court. The court can not set it aside. The only remedy left for the applicant is for them to appeal”
While El-Rufai is facing an eight count charge of criminal conspiracy and abuse of office while he held sway as the FCT minister, the two others are facing a three count charge of abuse of office and criminal conspiracy. The case has been adjourned till June 22, 2010 for trial.
Part of the charges reads
“That you Mallam Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai (M) between 13th day of December, 2003 and 14th of December, 2007 or thereabout at the Ministry of Federal capital territory, Abuja in the course of and or in the performance of your official duties as the Minister of the federal Capital Territory did use your said Office and position to gratify and confer corrupt or unfair advantage on your relation to wit your wife Hadiza Ahmed El-Rufai by reallocating to her parts of the parcel of land known as plot No 1201, Asokoro District (A4) Abuja, originally allocated in the Federal Capital Territory Master plan to power Holding company of Nigeria Plc for the construction of transmitting/ injection sub-stations which fully and /or intentionally revoked for that purpose, thereby committing an offence contrary to and punishable under section 19 of the corrupt and Other related Offences act, 2000.