HomeNewsFormer El-Rufai aides defend loan disbursement, deny mismanagement allegations

Former El-Rufai aides defend loan disbursement, deny mismanagement allegations

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Former aides of ex-Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai have refuted claims that his administration mismanaged state funds and improperly drew down on various foreign loans before leaving office in May 2023.

In a statement released Tuesday, several former commissioners, including Jafaru Sani (Environment), Hafsat Baba (Human Services), Thomas Gyang (Public Works and Infrastructure), Bashir Saidu (Finance), Ibrahim Husaini (Agriculture), Aisha Dikko (Justice), Fausat Ibikunle (Housing and Urban Development), and Idris Nyam (Business, Innovation, and Technology), dismissed accusations from the Kaduna State House of Assembly. The Assembly alleged that the former administration mismanaged N423 billion and called for an investigation by relevant security agencies.

READ ALSO: El-Rufai, Kwankwaso meeting fuels speculations of northern political coalition for 2027

An ad hoc committee of the Assembly had indicted El-Rufai and his appointees for allegedly siphoning state funds, prompting an investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Responding to these allegations, former Environment Commissioner Jafaru Sani criticized the probe report, stating it exaggerated the number of loans and disbursements before May 2023. “Some loans were negotiated and agreed upon as part of the aspirations for the progress and development of the state,” Sani said.

He clarified that disbursements for several loans listed in the probe report had not commenced before the El-Rufai administration’s exit. These include a $280 million loan for the Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project and a $150 million loan from the African Development Bank for the Kaduna Special Agro-Processing Zone, which had not been disbursed by May 2023.

Contrary to the probe report’s claims, Sani noted that the French Development Agency, not the African Development Bank, provided the $130.7 million loan for the Kaduna Bus Rapid Transport System, and no funds were disbursed before the last administration’s exit.

The statement also listed other loans facilitated by the El-Rufai administration but drawn by the Sani government, including a $20 million loan for the Livestock Productivity and Resilience Support Project and a $62.8 million loan for the Reaching-Out-of-School Children project.

The ex-officials highlighted discrepancies in the probe report, pointing out that only $2 million of the Agro-Climatic Resilience Semi-Arid Landscapes (ACReSAL) loan was received before May 2023, with the rest left intact for the successor government. They also contested the report’s claim that $494 million was disbursed for the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment (AGILE), stating that only $23.88 million was received by May 2023.

The statement emphasized the successes of the AGILE program, including major renovations in 110 schools and minor rehabilitation in 550 others. Kaduna was recognized for its innovative project implementation and excellence in renovations and monitoring.

The former cabinet members clarified that $352,855 was disbursed to the state in June 2023 for the Sustainable Urban and Rural Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene program, after the El-Rufai administration had left office.

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