Nigeria

SERAP drags President Buhari, others to court over ‘missing N106 billion’

President Muhammadu Buhari will on Monday in Daura, Katsina State, inaugurate the first Integrated Farm Estate established by the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA).

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari “over his failure to probe allegations that N106bn of public funds are missing from 149 ministries, departments and agencies.”

The suit followed the grim allegations by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation in his 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 Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation; and Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning.

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 N106bn of public funds, ensure prosecution of anyone suspected to be responsible, and the full recovery of any missing public money.”

In the suit, SERAP argued that “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.

“Directing and compelling President Buhari to ensure the investigation and prosecution of the alleged grand corruption documented by the Auditor-General would be entirely consistent with the government’s own commitment to fight corruption, improve the integrity of MDAs, and serve the public interest.

“The alleged missing public funds have hampered the ability of the indicted MDAs to meet the needs of average citizens, as the missing funds could have helped the government to invest in key public goods and services, and to improve access of Nigerians to these goods and services.”

SERAP is also seeking an order to compel the president “to publish full details of the yearly budgets of all MDAs, and issue regular updates that detail their expenditures, including by making any such information easily accessible in a form that can be understood by the public.”

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

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