September 22, 2023

Bustan Daily

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SERAP sues Buhari over N800bn recovered loot

3 min read

Socio – Economic Rights and Accountability Project has
filed a lawsuit against the President , Major General
Muhammadu Buhari ( retd ) , over the failure to disclose
information and documents relating to the names of
people from whom N 800 bn looted public funds have
been recovered , specific dates of the recovery , and
details of projects on which the money had been
spent. ”
A statement signed by SERAP Deputy Director ,
Kolawole Oluwadare , noted that the President had, in
paragraph 78 of his speech to mark Democracy Day on
June 12 , 2020 , stated that : “ the government has
recovered looted funds in excess of N 800 billion . These
monies are being ploughed into development and
infrastructure projects. ”
In the suit number FHC / ABJ / CS / 1064 / 2020 filed last
Friday at the Federal High Court, Abuja , SERAP is
seeking “ an order for leave to apply for judicial review
and an order of mandamus to direct and / or compel
President Buhari to publish a comprehensive list of
names of people from whom N 800 bn in looted funds
have been recovered , the details of spending of the
money , and the specific dates of the recovery . ”
SERAP is also seeking: “ an order of mandamus to
direct and compel President Buhari to instruct
appropriate anti – corruption agencies to promptly,
thoroughly and transparently investigate alleged
payment of N 51 bn of public funds into individual
private accounts in 2019 . ”
Joined in the suit as respondents are Mr . Abubakar
Malami, SAN , Attorney General of the Federation and
Minister of Justice; and Mrs . Zainab Ahmed , Minister
of Finance , Budget and National Planning .
In the suit , SERAP is arguing that the court ought to
compel the respondents to disclose the details and
whereabouts of the public funds .
“ There is no legally justifiable reason why the
information should not be made widely available to
Nigerians , especially as the Nigerian Constitution of
1999 ( as amended ) requires the government in section
15 ( 5) to abolish all forms of corruption. That means
ensuring transparency and accountability in the
management of public resources and wealth , ” it stated .
The suit followed SERAP ’ s Freedom of Information
( FoI ) request dated 13 June , 2020 to President Buhari ,
stating that: “ The public has a right to know how
recovered N 800 bn loot has been spent, and the details
and purpose of the alleged payments of N 51 bn into
individual private accounts . Transparency over
transactions by the government is critical to ensuring
public confidence in the integrity of management of
public resources and wealth . ”
SERAP is also arguing that: “ Granting the reliefs sought
will ensure transparency and accountability, as the
information sought to be published will reveal the truth
of where money is going and why it is there , and allow
Nigerians an opportunity to assess the impacts of any
projects carried out with the recovered loot and the
alleged payments into individual private accounts . ”
The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers
Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi , read in
part : “ As a signatory to the UN Convention against
Corruption, the African Union Convention on
Preventing and Combating Corruption, and the African
Charter on Human and Peoples ’ Rights , Nigeria has
committed to ensure transparent management of
public resources, and unhindered access to public
information . These commitments ought to be fully
upheld and respected . ”

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