The call on the President comes amid the public expectation of his list of ministerial nominees.

A group under the umbrella of Forum for Transparency and Accountability in Governance on Friday urged President Bola Tinubu not to succumb to pressure from any politician with pending fraud cases in court or at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) to be appointed into his cabinet in the guise of party loyal member.

The call on the President comes amid the public expectation of his list of ministerial nominees.

President Tinubu has a statutory period of 60 days from the inauguration day to make the list available to the upper legislative chamber for screening.

The transparency group in a statement jointly signed by its Convener, Dr Bala Musa Mustapha, Secretary General, Mr Nouel Malama and Director of Publicity, Nafisa Hamid Jika respectively maintained that President Tinubu should tread with caution and not appoint politicians with questionable character into his cabinet.

The group emphasized that the former governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Rufai should be kept at arm’s length and be isolated from the corridor of power, if the present administration wants to be taken seriously, given that he is standing trial for allegedly embezzling N32 billion revenue from the sale of Federal Government houses between 2005 and 2007 when he was the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory.

The group recalled that Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja on November 19, 2019, ruled that El-Rufai lacked the power to stop the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC from investigating and prosecuting him over fraud allegations.

Justice Nyako in her judgement in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/60/09 which was filed by El-Rufai where he listed 13 respondents including the EFCC, Federal Government and others, insisted that El-Rufai must account for the whereabouts of the N32 billion.

The forum maintained that the prosecution of El-Rufai was progressing at the Federal High Court until he became Kaduna State governor in May 2015 when immunity of office halted it.

According to the group, now that he is out of office, the anti-graft agency ought to have resumed his prosecution, rather than for the government to contemplate making him a minister.

 The group also added that the prosecution of El-Rufai followed a damning audit report by world-class audit firms, Akintola Williams Deloitte and Aminu Ibrahim & Co, where it was revealed that the sum of N32 billion proceeds of sales of Federal Government houses was missing.

 The statement read: “Any government that prides itself on probity and accountability should not be seen to patronize the likes of the former governor of Kaduna State. It’s in the public domain that Malam Nasir El-Rufai is facing prosecution of N32 billion in court.

 “Also, the former governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje is facing rejection over his dirty past involving dollar bribe and what is good for Ganduje should be good for El-Rufai. We hope that President Tinubu will come out clean on the El-Rufai issue, while we hope that he should not allow Nigerians to hit the streets before doing the right thing.”

The group also called on the EFCC and other anti-graft agencies to prosecute former and incumbent public officers who have pending cases, so that their actions would not be misinterpreted as selective prosecution of corrupt officials.

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