Report on Interest

What Buhari can do to strengthen his anti-corruption drive-SERAP

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

As Nigerians continued to raise concerns on President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption drive, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has disclosed that enforcing existing court judgments on corruption cases will assist to reawaken the citizens’ belief in the government vision.

Among the court judgment disclosed by SERAP was the Freedom of Information suit number FHC/L/CS/105/19, ordering that names of contractors and project received from Ministry of Power be published.

While delivering judgment recently in the suit filed by SERAP at the Federal High Court, Lagos, Justice Chuka Obiozor, ordered the immediate release of details of payments to all defaulting and allegedly corrupt electricity contractors and companies since 1999.

According to the judgment, the whereabouts of the contractors paid by successive governments to carry out electricity projects but disappeared with the money without executing any projects should be published.

To boost the anti-graft drive, SERAP urged Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abukabar Malami, to persuade the President, who holds the final decision on the issue, to approve the publication.

In the open letter dated 13 September 2019 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “The enforcement of this judgment will be a special moment for the government’s anti-corruption agenda and the sovereignty of rule of law, as it would go a long way in protecting the integrity of our legal system. We urge you to make the best efforts to advise and persuade President Buhari and Mr Sale Mamman, Minister of Power to begin to take steps that will ensure the full enforcement of this ground-breaking judgment.”

SERAP said: “Advising and persuading Mr Buhari and Mr Mamman to enforce the judgment against corrupt contractors and companies would show your commitment to the rule of law, and contribute to addressing the culture and legacy of corruption in the power sector. It will show that you are not just Mr Buhari’s lawyer but also a defender of the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended), the rule of law and public interest within the government, something which Justice Obiozor’s judgment seeks to serve.”

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