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Court orders account of recovered loot from 1999

Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the federal Government to publish up-to-date information on recovered stolen funds since the return of civilian rule in 1999. According to the court, the publication should include detailed information on the total amount of stolen public assets that have so far been recovered by Nigeria, the amount that has been spent from the recovered assets and details of projects on which recovered funds were spent.

Trial judge, Mohammed Idris, in his judgment on a Freedom of Information suit filed by  the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, held that successive governments since the return of democracy in 1999 “breached the fundamental principles of transparency and accountability for failing to disclose details about the spending of recovered stolen public funds, including on a dedicated website.”

The court also directed President Buhari to “ensure that his government and those of former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, and Goodluck Jonathan account fully for all recovered loot.

Reacting to the judgment, SERAP’s Deputy Executive Director, Olukayode Majekodunmi, said the judgment confirms the persistent failure of successive governments starting from the Obasanjo government, to respect Nigerians’ rights to a corruption-free society and to uphold constitutional and international commitments on transparency and accountability.

 

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