Ex Minister Tried To Return N50bn Through Me — El-rufai

Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai, has told New York Times that associates of an ex-minister under former President Goodluck Jonathan had approached him to return the sum of $250 million to the Federal Government.

The money is about N50bn using an average exchange rate of N200 to a dollar.

The governor, who did not mention the names of the associates or the name of the ex-minister, said he was not in any position to handle such matters but would pass across the message to the appropriate authorities.

In the report published on Friday, the governor said, “When you say you want to refund, it means you are admitting that you took what was not yours. ‘I said, ‘I am a governor, I am not involved in this. I will pass on your message.’’’

The former minister of the Federal Capital Territory had before the inauguration of the new administration said President Muhammadu Buhari’ s government would ask corrupt politicians to return every kobo stolen by them.

El-Rufai had told members of the National Union of Textile Garments and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, who visited him in Kaduna that such politicians must be ready to return all stolen funds after May 29.

He, however, said those who were not corrupt had no cause to fear.

El-Rufai said, “We will politely ask those who stole government money to return the funds. The All Progressives Congress government is made up of people who are ready to work for the masses and the betterment of the country.’’

Also, Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, had in July told State House Correspondents shortly after meeting with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, that the President’s delegation during his last trip to the US was told how a minister under ex-President Jonathan stole $6billion.

SUNDAY PUNCH gathered that apart from sending her aides to el-Rufai, the female minister had also approached some members of the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption and some governors close to President Muhammadu Buhari, offering to return part of the loot.

Chairman of the committee, Prof. Itse Sagay, could not be reached on Saturday night as his phone was switched off.

A member of the committee however told our one of our correspondents that even though the former minister did not approach him, he was aware that she made such moves.

He said, “I have never met her and she has never sent anyone to me but I know that she has tried to meet other members of the committee offering to refund some money. I also learnt that she had tired to reach President Buhari many times.”

Another reliable source privy to the activities of the committee, told SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday night that all the persons the ex-minister met or sent emissaries to refused to accept the money from her.

The source who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “She approached the committee members but they refused to take the money from her. This was shortly before she travelled to the United Kingdom. Even while in Britain, she has not relented in trying to return some of the money she was accused of stealing.”

SUNDAY PUNCH further gathered on Saturday that the ex-minister had written petitions to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission against some of her former allies.

According to a reliable source at the commission, the ex-minister learnt that some of her former associates that she favoured with mouth-watering deals in her ministry were behind her travails.

In retaliation, she reportedly sponsored petitions against her former allies providing strong evidence against them to the anti-graft agency.

Following these petitions, one of her former associates, who is a major player in the oil industry was invited for questioning two weeks ago while another ally of hers is facing extradition from Switzerland.

Efforts to reach the Head, Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, failed on Saturday as his phone was switched off.

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