*publication said he was indicted in probe of the sale of Nitel worth $252 million
By; GABRIEL UDEH, Kaduna
It was a drama of sort, when Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasiru el-Rufai told the court while giving evidence against The Union Newspapers, that he was just seeing the Power Steering Magazine Publication, on probe of the sale of $252 million Nitel under his administration as FCT Minister, for the first time.
The Power Steering Publication dated March 2017, was tendered before the governor in Court 4, Kaduna High Court of Justice sitting in Kaduna on Wednesday, while cross examining el-Rufai, by a counsel to The Union Newspapers, Barrister Abuu H. Andrew.
The Power Steering cover story is titled: ‘How Elrufai Cornered’ UBEC Land, VP Atiku’s Guest House as Minister, Can Buhari Probe The $252M Sales of NITEL with Elrufai’s Involvement? Nasiru Elrufai: A Paragon of a Pathological liar’ was handed over to the governor as evidence against him by The Union Lawyer.
Our correspondent who was in court reports that Governor el-Rufai, after reading the cover page of the magazine openly to the court, denied seeing the publication before he appeared in dock to give his testimony.
“I’m seeing this publication for the first time, I have not seen it before, it’s not every trash that I see,” he said.
el-Rufai who was in court to testify as the fiftieth person in the case of defamation of character he instituted against The Union newspapers, based in Lagos, over publication on his Assets declaration, in July, 2015, also tendered a different Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), assets form to the court through his counsel Barrister A. U Mustspha, SAN.
But the counsel to the Union Newspapers vehemently objected to the CCB asset form tendered in the court on grounds that the document was different from the copy front loaded before the court in 2015.
Barr. Andrew told the court during the continuous hearing that the CCB Assets Form tendered could not be admitted because apparent on the document is the certification of CCB stamp and the date of certification.
The defendant counsel said he coincided to the admissibility of all other documents tendered except CCB asset declaration form of the plaintiff on the ground that the document so to be tendered is entirely different from the copy frontloaded before the court.
“Because, apparent on the document so to be tendered is the certification of CCB and date of the certificate which is the first day of August 2016, contrary to the document that was frontloaded which did not compare with any certification for the CCB,” he explained in an interview with journalists.
“Also apparent on the document is date of certification which showed that the document was certified by CCB during the pendency of the case as this suit commenced in 2015, while the document was certified in 2016, which showed clearly that at the time of commenced of the suit, the document tendered was not frontloaded”, he maintained.
The court’s judge, Justice Mairo Muhammed, however admitted the documents in her ruling, on grounds that the same is relevant to the case, and the trial continues as the witness, Governor el-Rufai, testified and was cross examined.
Earlier, the counsel to the plaintiff, A.U. Mustapha, argued that the objection by the defendant was ill conceived, saying the document tendered was relevant and same was frontloaded.
The case was later adjourned to 15th June 2017 for the defendant’s testimony.
Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai and his deputy, Bantex were personally present at the High Court during the .
It would be recalled that Governor el-Rufai had in July 2015, sued The Union Newspaper, based in Lagos, for reporting that he declared assets worth N90billion before the Code of Conduct Bureau but was denied.
On how much is the total value of his assets, put to him, the governor who mentioned his three houses outside the country, said he has not taken time to compute his assets to know the total.