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N800bn recovered loot: Again, SERAP slams suit against Buhari, two ministers

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For the umpteenth time, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has sued President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, over alleged failure to give details of the recovered N800 billion loot and the amount retrieved from the indicted public officials.

Also joined in the suit as a respondent is Mrs Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning.

SERAP wants the court’s declaration compelling Buhari to reveal the names of the looters, specific dates of the recovery, and details of projects on which the monies were spent.

 

Persecondnews recalls that the President had in his 2020 June 12 Democracy Day speech announced that the federal government had recovered looted funds to the tune of N800 billion and that the monies would be expended on infrastructure and other projects.

 

SERAP said the suit is in pursuit of its Freedom of Information Act request dated 13 June 2020 to Buhari, that the public has a right to know how recovered N800bn loot has been spent, and the details and purpose of the alleged payments of N51bn into individual private accounts.

 

It added that transparency over transactions by the government is critical to ensuring public confidence in the integrity of the management of public resources and wealth.”

 

SERAP which has filed the action at the Federal High Court, Abuja, 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 N800 billion in looted funds have been recovered, the details of spending of the money, and the specific dates of the recovery.

According to a statement by SERAP, the suit was filed on its behalf by Mr Kolawole Oluwadare  Mrs Opeyemi Owolabi and no date has been fixed for the hearing of the case.

 

It 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 the alleged payment of N51 billion of public funds into individual private accounts in 2019.

 

It stated in an affidavit: “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.’’

 

“Granting the reliefs sought will ensure transparency and accountability, as the information sought to be published will reveal the truth of where the money is going and why it is there.

“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,” SERAP said.

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