Buhari Government—The federal high court of Nigeria while sitting in Lagos state has ordered the federal government to immediately release to all Nigerians citizen the names of high all ranking public officials from whom public funds were recovered previously, the circumstances under which funds were recovered and also the exact amount of funds which was recovered from each public official.
This judgment was forwarded on Wednesday by Hon Justice Hadiza Rabiu Shagari in accordance with a Freedom of Information suit number: FHC/CS/964/2016 by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).
This brought a disclosure by the Federal Government about the money recovered from some high top-ranking public officials and private individuals in the country in the year 2016.
Justice Shagari agreed with SERAP In her judgment that day that, the FG has legal binding obligations to tell all Nigerians the names of all suspected looters of the public treasury both past and present.
Listed as defendants in the suit are the Minister of Information Alhaji Lai Muhammed and the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.
The Justice Shagari as well granted a declaration that by virtue of the provisions of Section 4 (a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, the Defendants are under a binding legal obligation to provide the Plaintiff with up to date information on the issue on ground he said.
The court therefore ordered government “To highly disclose even on dedicated websites the information about the names of high ranking public officials from whom public funds were recovered since the year May 2015 as soon as possible.
“The state and condition under which stolen public funds were returned”.
In his reaction at the meeting, Timothy Adewale, who is the SERAP deputy director, argued the case on behalf of the SERAP, speaking “This is a victory for justice, rule of law, transparency and accountability in this great country.” The judgment shows the way forward in the fight against corruption and impunity of perpetrators in the nation”.
“We are going to do everything possible within the law to ensure full compliance by the President Mohammadu Buhari and as well Acting President Osinbajo with this landmark judgment”.
The Ministry of Information in the previous year published the following details of the recoveries, which showed that the Nigerian government successfully retrieved total cash amount of the following from looters
- £3,508,355.46 and
- €11, 250 between May 29, 2015 and May 25, 2016.
Also released were recoveries under interim forfeiture, were combination of cash and assets, during same period are:
- £2,484,447.55 and
And anticipated repatriation from foreign countries totaled the sum of the following:
- £6,900,000 and
The ministry of information also announced that 239 non-cash recoveries were made during the one-year period.
From concrete information gathered, the federal ministry of information disclosed some non-cash recoveries from the looters and others which are as follows below:
Farmlands, plots of land, uncompleted buildings, completed buildings, vehicles and maritime vessels.