KADUNA State governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, has dared former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar to travel to the United States (US) and clear up the tale of why he had been avoiding a visit to the country.
This was as the governor challenged Atiku to clear corruption allegations hanging on his neck, instead of trying to drag his (el-Rufai) name in the mud.
“Alhaji Atiku should explain the findings in the report of the United States Senate Permanent Sub-Committee on Investigations, which detailed a pattern of wire transfers of more than $40 million from offshore companies like Siemens into bank accounts controlled by him.
“The report detailing the US Senate findings is online, as one of four case histories of foreign corruption in the USA. Alhaji Atiku should tell a better tale of why he is avoiding the United States of America,” he said.
el-Rufai made this known in a statement he personally signed, entitled: “Gov el-Rufai bombs Atiku Abubakar: You’re Haunted by your corruption demons,” in response to a statement by the former vice president on el-Rufai’s link to the incorporation of Transcorp.
Atiku had, in an interview with officials of the EFCC media team, publishers of the anti-graft agency’s Zero Tolerance Magazine, absolved himself of any corrupt practices.
“Well if Atiku is corrupt, he would have been found guilty of corruption by all the panels and probes and cases brought before courts,” he said.
The former vice president also responded to allegations written by el-Rufai in his book, “Accidental Public Servant,” saying el-Rufai did not give any evidence or prove where he was corrupt.
“This is the same el-Rufai and others who incorporated Transcorp during my time as vice president and offered me shares and I declined.
“I wrote to them officially to say it was unethical of me to have accepted those offers, so, where is the corruption toga coming from,” he was quoted to have said.
Reacting, el-Rufai said “I never had anything to do with the incorporation of Transcorp. Those that established that company and fronted it like Festus Odimegwu, Tony Elumelu, Otunba Lawal Solarin and Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke are still around and alive.
“As such, I could not have and did not offer Alhaji Atiku any shares in Transcorp. I declined the shares that were offered to me. Having done that, how could I have offered anyone shares?
“In fact, I advised President Olusegun Obasanjo, Alhaji Atiku and then finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, not to accept the shares that were then being offered by the promoters of Transcorp.
“My counsel to them was based on the grounds that they would face conflicts of interest when Transcorp bids for privatisation assets.
“At the time, Alhaji Atiku and Ngozi were chair and vice-chair of the National Council on Privatisation, and were particularly directly involved in approving the sales of state-owned enterprises and assets,” he said.
“It is too late in the day to try to pretend that the fiasco concerning the attempt by then Senators Ibrahim Mantu and Jonathan Zwingina to extort money from me for Senate clearance never happened. All Alhaji Atiku has just done is confirm that he paid the senators, as I revealed in Page 139 of my book.
“When I published ‘The Accidental Public Servant’ in 2013, Alhaji Atiku unleashed his media team in a campaign of vilification. Despite the viciousness of the attacks, they did not contest or explain away his shenanigans that were detailed in the book,” he said.