President Muhammadu Buhari has directed relevant agencies in the country to compile documents on names of looters and publish same in compliance with the judgment of a Federal High Court in Lagos.
In her judgment delivered on July 5, 2017, Hon. Justice Hadiza Rabiu Shagari agreed with SERAP that “the Federal Government has legally binding obligations to tell Nigerians the names of all suspected looters of the public treasury past and present.”
Abukabar Malami, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, said the court had ordered the government to publish names of high-ranking public officials from whom public funds were recovered.
Malami, who stated this at a meeting with a delegation from Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, in his office in Abuja, said the court also ordered the government to tell Nigerians the circumstances under which funds were recovered, as well as the exact amount of funds recovered from each public official.
Adetokunbo Mumuni, executive director of SERAP, who also confirmed the development, said: “We had a very productive meeting with Malami, discussing among other critical issues, the need for the government to obey the judgment delivered in July by Hon. Justice Shagari following a Freedom of Information suit number: FHC/CS/964/2016 brought by SERAP.
“Mr. Malami informed us that President Buhari has directed the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Finance, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, and other relevant agencies involved in the recovery of looted funds to promptly put the documents together with a view to fully and promptly enforcing the judgment by Justice Shagari.”
He added ”We hope that the implementation of the judgment will now happen sooner rather than later. We believe that effectively implementing the judgment will be a victory for the rule of law, show the way forward in the fight against corruption and impunity of perpetrators in the country, as well as demonstrate Buhari’s oft-repeated commitment to tackling the problem of grand corruption.”
Joined as defendants in the suit are the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.
It would be recalled that the Ministry of Information last year published details of the recoveries, which showed that the Nigerian government successfully retrieved N78,325,354,631.82, $185,119,584.61, £3,508,355.46 and €11, 250 between May 29, 2015 and May 25, 2016.