Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: EFCC's Manhunt - El-Rufai Returns to Court

The embattled former minister of the Federal Capital Territory Malam Nasir el-Rufai is heading back to the court to challenge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for declaring him wanted.

The anti-graft agency had last week declared el-Rufai wanted after he failed to honour its invitation for interrogation over alleged misappropriation of the N32 billion proceeds of the sale of Federal Government houses in Abuja during his tenure. El-Rufai's counsel, A.U. Mustapha told Daily Trust in a telephone interview yesterday that the declaration of his client wanted by the EFCC was illegal, saying he would institute a legal action requesting the court to stop the EFCC's action. He said, "The EFCC invited Malam to appear before it over some petitions it received from other people on land matters while he was not in the country. We filed an action in court against any actions on him by the commission.

In law when one party institutes a legal action against another, that other party must await the decision of the court before it considers taking any action. However, despite serving the commission with the court papers as well as writing and notifying it about the court case, EFCC went ahead and declared Malam a wanted man over N32 billion which the Commission claimed was allegedly misappropriated." He said it was because the Commission discovered that it has no legal backing to investigate and declare El-Rufai wanted on land matters, it declared him a wanted man on the purported N32 billion. According to Mustapha, the action indicated that the Commission is not precise in its decisions and judgements because El-Rufai was neither notified about the N32 billion case nor has he knowledge that the money was found missing from FCT purse. "We have resolved to return to the court between today Friday January 2 and Monday January 5 2009 to further challenge the action of the EFCC by asking the court to declare the decision of the Commission obsolete," Mustapha said.

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