The former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, has described as untrue a statement credited to several newspapers and broadcast stations that the Federal High Court last Wednesday ruled that he has a case to answer. He said no pleas were taken at the hearing that took place in the case instituted against him by the commission.
In a statement made available to Elombah.com, el-Rufai’s counsel Akinlolu Olujimi (SAN) wrote: “As counsel to Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, I am constrained to refute the falsehood that has passed for news in many newspapers regarding the ongoing court case between my client and the federal government.
In the interest of accuracy and fair play, I hereby offer the following clarifications regarding the said proceedings at the Federal High Court, Abuja:“No pleas were taken at the hearing of Wednesday, 4th November 2009. The judge was also unable to hear the application we presented requesting the court to discharge the order it gave authorising the substituted service of summons on our client. Our application argues that substituted services cannot be affected on a party that is not present within the court’s jurisdiction.
The judge adjourned the hearing of our application to 9 December, 2009.”
Debunking the statement credited to the anti-graft commission, Olujimi stated that, “I am therefore amazed that several newspapers and broadcast stations reported that the court ruled that my client has a case to answer. Some of the papers attributed their report to a statement from the EFCC. It is unbecoming to comment on matters pending in court, and even worse to report such matters untruthfully.
This is trite decorum that even the almighty EFCC can manage to respect.
“Mallam el-Rufai’s legal team expects the EFCC and the media outlets that fell for its deceit and false reportage to retract the untrue stories they have peddled in this matter. It would amount to multiple contempt of court if they fail to correct the patent and deliberate misrepresentation of proceedings in court.”
The media generally reported last week a statement credited to the EFCC that the former minister failed in his attempt to have corruption charges filed against him quashed as Justice Adamu Bello of the Federal High Court, OAU Quarters, Abuja, ruled that the trial must continue.
The press release which was issued by the EFCC’s spokesman, Mr Femi Babafemi, also noted that Malam el-Rufai was being charged for criminal conspiracy and abuse of office while he was the minister of the Federal Capital Territory.