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El-Rufai allocated PHCN plots to wives, friends – Witness

By on September 26, 2012

Nasir elRufai

A prosecution witness in the trial of former Minister of the FCT, Nasir el-Rufai, Mr. Sunday Idowu, insisted  that the ex-minister illegally allocated plot 1201 to his family members, the News Agency of Nigeria reported on Tuesday.

Idowu, an EFCC officer, who led the investigations which facilitated the arraignment of el-Rufai and two others, said  the accused revoked the land belonging to the PHCN and allocated over 10 plots to himself and friends.

Arraigned with el-Rufai are Altine Jibrin, former Director-General of the Abuja Geographic Information System and its former General Manager, Ismail Iro.

The EFCC is charging the trio for abuse of public office and illegal conversion of a land meant for the construction of transmitting/injection sub-stations of the PHCN in Asokoro.

They were also alleged to have conspired and converted plot 3352 located in Maitama, belonging to NIPOST for the construction of district post office.

El-Rufai is accused of allocating 10 plots of land in Asokoro District in various sizes to his family members, including his two wives, Hadiza and Hasiya.

The EFCC claimed that he committed the offence between 2003 and 2007.

At the resumed hearing presided by Justice Abubakar Umar of the FCT High Court, Idowu also said that during the investigation, he did not come across any letter from PHCN asking the FCT minister to reduce the parcel of land.

Idowu, during cross- examination by Chief Kanu Agabi, counsel for  Iro,  said  he did not come across any letter written by the PHCN that it no longer required the land for a 330kva corridor at the site.

He said it was not only the 10 family members and friends of el-Rufai that were named as beneficiaries of the land allocation on plot 1201.

Idowu said  the daughter of a former Executive Director of the FCDA, Alhaji Mohammed Alhassan, also benefited from the allocation.

During further cross- examination by Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN), counsel for el-Rufai and Jibrin, Idowu agreed that the power to allocate and revoke land in the FCT was vested in the minister.

He also agreed that a minister of the FCT and his/her family members had a right to own land anywhere in the country.

Regarding the revoked NIPOST plot in Maitama, Idowu said it was meant for a Post Office, but he did not know the terms of  allocation.

He said he was also not aware that NIPOST sought a declaration to void the revocation, or that NIPOST’s civil action was pending before the criminal case was filed.

Idowu also denied knowing that NIPOST had leased the land to Rosehill, a private firm to develop the area.

He affirmed that he read the statement of el- Rufai; but when told that the first accused disclosed NIPOST’s lease to Rosehill in that statement, Idowu said he could not remember everything about the case.

When asked why the Rosehill lease was not investigated, Idowu said NIPOST did not disclose it.

Further testifying, Idowu said he did not know that Rosehill requested el-Rufai to transfer the NIPOST allocation to them,  but he conceded that the FCT minister has the right to allocate and revoke land titles.

Justice Umar adjourned  further hearing in the case till  November 8 for the EFCC to produce its witnesses.


Source: News Agency of Nigeria