The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has dragged President Muhammadu Buhari to court, over his failure to give clear details on the N800 billion recovered loot from public Officials in the country, Page 36 learnt.
Joined in the suit as Respondents are the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, and Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed.
SERAP wants the court to compel President Buhari to reveal the names of the looters, specific dates of the recoveries, and details of projects on which the money has been spent after recovery by his government.
The trigger for the suit was reportedly President Buhari’s speech on Democracy Day, on June 12, 2020, where he stated that, the government has recovered looted funds in excess of N800 billion, and that the monies are being put into development and infrastructure projects in the country.
In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1064/2020, filed on Friday, at the Federal High Court, Abuja, SERAP is seeking for: “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, the details of spending of the money, and the specific dates of the recovery.
“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.
“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.”
The suit followed SERAP’s Freedom of Information, FoI, request dated 13th June, 2020, to President Buhari, stating that: “The public has a right to know how recovered N800 billion loot has been spent, and the details and purpose of the alleged payments of N51 billion 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.
“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 was filed on behalf of SERAP by its Lawyers, Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi, and no date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.