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‘Corruption’ probe: El-Rufai must be given fair hearing, says Ozekhome

 


Mike Ozekhome, a human rights lawyer, says Nasir el-Rufai, the former Kaduna state governor, should be given a fair hearing in the probe of his administration by the state house of assembly.

 

An ad hoc committee set up by the Kaduna state house of assembly recommended the probe of el-Rufai’s administration between 2015 and 2023.

 

El-Rufai is accused of diversion of public funds and money laundering.

 

Henry Zacharia, chairman of the ad hoc committee, who presented the report during the plenary on Wednesday, said most of the loans obtained by the el-Rufai administration were used for other purposes.

 

In April, the Kaduna assembly inaugurated a 13-member committee to examine the loans, grants, and project implementation in the state during the period el-Rufai was governor.

 

Zacharia said most of the loans obtained and projects implemented did not follow the “due process”.

 

The lawmakers also called for the prosecution of some of the commissioners and officials who worked under el-Rufai.

Speaking on Thursday as a guest on Sunrise Daily, a programme on Channels Television, Ozekhome said the former governor has a right to a fair hearing.

 

“… I think that whatever happens, el-Rufai must be given his right to a fair hearing. The assembly has just merely made a recommendation and told the governor to implement it,” he said.

 

“The governor may look at it and, and feel well, ‘this is not worth the energy at the time. Let’s face other things’.

 

“Others may say, ‘N423 billion they are accusing him of is not a small amount; let’s dig in.’ So, whatever the outcome would be, don’t forget that El-Rufai also has his own fundamental rights to protect. For example, he may decide to go to court to challenge the indictment itself.

 

 “Maybe you could say he was not given a fair trial. He was never called. I don’t know whether he was called to come and defend himself.

 

“Was he duly invited? Was he given an opportunity to defend himself? If he was and he chose to stay back, that’s another ball game. So, because I do not have all those duties, it becomes peremptory for me to comment on it.

 

“You don’t indict a person by proxy. No, you don’t, particularly in a matter that has criminal connotations. You can’t do that by proxy. So, it has to be the person.”

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