SERAP Sues Nigeria’s President Over Missing N106bn in 149 MDAs

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari over his failure to probe allegations that N106 billion of public funds is missing from 149 ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs), and to ensure the prosecution of those suspected to be responsible, as well as the recovery of any missing public funds.

The suit followed the allegations by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation (AuGF) in its 2018 annual audited report that N105,662,350,077.46 of public funds is missing, misappropriated, or unaccounted for across 149 MDAs.

Those joined in the suit as respondents are Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), and Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed.

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In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/903/2021 filed 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.

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“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(5) 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.”

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However, no date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

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