Report on Interest
under logo

SERAP writes court over N800bn recovered looted funds under Buhari

By Idowu Abdullahi,

In its bid to ensure transparency and accountability, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari over his alleged failure to release names and documents of persons and companies whom the N800 billion looted public funds were recovered from.

As stated, the legal action was a sequel to the organization’s Freedom of Information (FoI) request dated 13 June 2020 to President Buhari, where the organization argued that it was pertinent for the apex government to ensure transparency with the recovered funds.

“The public has a right to know how recovered N800bn loot has been spent, and the details and purpose of the alleged payments of N51billion into individual private accounts. Transparency over transactions by the government is critical to ensuring public confidence in the integrity of the management of public resources and wealth,” SERAP had demanded in the FoI.

But, not satisfied with the alleged inaction of the government, the organization in a suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1064/2020 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court, Abuja, prayed the court to compel President Buhari to publish list of names of persons involved in the loot.

In the suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers, Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi, a copy which was made available to the newsmen on Sunday, the organization sought 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 N800 billion in looted funds have been recovered, details of spending of the money, and the specific dates of the recovery.

The organizations also sought “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 N51 billion of public funds into individual private accounts in 2019.

“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 statement read.

Joined in the suit as respondents are Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), and Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed.

SERAP stressed that disclosing the details of projects on which the N800bn recovered loot has been spent and would be entirely consistent with the oft-expressed anti-corruption commitments by the federal government.

It would be recalled that the President had in paragraph 78 of his speech to mark the occasion of the Democracy Day on June 12, 2020, stated that: “the government has recovered looted funds in excess of N800 billion. These monies are being ploughed into development and infrastructure projects.”

Leave A Reply

%d bloggers like this: