Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project is seeking clarification on the amount recovered from Nigeria’s looted funds and how it was expended.
In the correspondence signed by its deputy director,KolawoleOluwadare, the non-governmental organisationurged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice,Mr. Abubakar Malami, and the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, to publish a comprehensive list of names of people from whom the N800bn was recovered, “the details of spending of the money and the dates of the recoveries.”
The group,in a Freedom of Information request dated June 13, 2020, implored the Nigerian leader to direct appropriate anti-corruption agencies to promptly, thoroughly and transparently investigate allegations that payments totalling N51bn were made into individual accounts in 2019.
SERAP stated: “Publishing the details regarding the N800bn recovered loot and investigating the alleged suspicious payments into personal accounts would be entirely consistent with fundamental principles of due process, and Nigeria’s international anti-corruption commitments.
“The information will also reveal where the money is going and why it is there, and allow Nigerians an opportunity to assess the impact of any project carried out with the recovered loot and the alleged payments into individual accounts.”
According to the documentalso sent to Malami and Ahmed, the public has a right to know how the recovered loot has been spent, and the details and purpose of the alleged payments into individual accounts.
“As a signatory to the United Nations 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.
“Transparency over transactions by the government is critical to ensuring public confidence in the integrity of management of public resources. The authorities are required to set the highest standards of transparency, accountability and probity in the management of these resources and the programmes that they oversee.
“We would be grateful if the requested information is provided to us within seven days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions under the FoI Act to compel you to comply with our request,”the Lagos-based organisation added.