Sunday, August 22, 2021 3:08 pm
A Lagos based group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has dragged President Muhammadu Buhari to court over his failure to probe allegations that N106 billion of public funds are missing from 149 ministries, departments and agencies.
SERAP also accused the President of failure to ensure the prosecution of those suspected to be responsible the missing public funds.
The suit by SERAP is based on allegations by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation in its 2018 annual audited report that N105,662,350,077.46 of public funds are missing, misappropriated or unaccounted for across 149 MDAs.
Joined in the suit as respondents are the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) and the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed.
In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/903/2021 filed last week at the Federal High Court in Abuja, SERAP is seeking an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Buhari to promptly investigate the alleged missing public funds, ensure prosecution of anyone suspected to be responsible, and the full recovery of the money.
The suit, filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers, Kolawole Oluwadare and Joke Fekumo, read in part: “The failure to investigate the allegations of grand corruption in the 2018 annual audited report constitutes a grave violation of the duty placed on the Nigerian government to take appropriate measures to promote transparency and accountability in the management of public finances.
“President Buhari’s constitutional responsibility to ensure the investigation and prosecution of allegations of corruption, as well as recovery of any missing public funds is contained in Section 15 of the Nigerian Constitution, which provides that ‘the state shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power’, and in the Oath of Office in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.
“Recovering the alleged missing public funds would reduce the pressure on the federal government to borrow more money to fund the budget, enable the authorities to meet the country’s constitutional and international obligations and reduce the growing level of public debts. No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.”