SERAP sues Lawan, Gbaja over missing N4.4bn national assembly fund
A suit against senate president, Ahmed Lawan and speaker of the house, Femi Gbajabiamila has been filed by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) over failure to probe alleged missing N4.4 billion budgeted for the national assembly.
The group said it instituted the suit following the publication of the annual audited reports for 2015, 2017, and 2018 in which the auditor-general of the federation raised “concerns about alleged diversion and misappropriation of public funds, sought the recovery of any missing funds, and asked that the evidence of recovery should be forwarded to his office.”
In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/366/2021 and filed on Friday before the federal high court, Abuja, SERAP is seeking, “an order of mandamus directing and compelling Lawan, Gbajabiamila and the national assembly to perform their constitutional oversight functions to ensure prompt and transparent investigation into the allegations that N4.4 billion budgeted for the national assembly may be missing and unaccounted for.”
The group argued that “by the combined reading of the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the UN Convention against Corruption, which Nigeria has ratified, the national assembly has legal duties to combat corruption, and promote transparency and accountability in the management of public resources.”
“Transparency and accountability in the management of public resources and wealth are essential for promoting development, people’s welfare and well-being, and their access to basic public services, as well as good governance and the rule of law,” the group said.
“The national assembly has a legal responsibility to ensure that the serious allegations of corruption and mismanagement documented by the office of the auditor-general of the federation are promptly, independently, thoroughly, and transparently investigated, and to end the culture of impunity that is fueling these allegations.
“The failure of the national assembly to promptly and thoroughly investigate, and to refer to appropriate anti-corruption agencies the allegations documented in the annual audited reports for 2015, 2017, and 2018 is a fundamental breach of the oversight and public interest duties imposed on the legislative body by sections 4, 88 and 89 of the Nigerian Constitution.”
SERAP noted that “granting this application would serve the interest of justice, reduce corruption and mismanagement, as well as end impunity of perpetrators, and advance the fundamental human rights of Nigerians.”