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SERAP drags Buhari to court over failure to investigate ‘missing N106bn’ in 149 MDAs

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has dragged President Muhammadu Buhari to court over his alleged failure to probe allegations of missing N106 billion of public funds from ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

In a letter dated April 17, SERAP had called on President Buhari to direct the attorney-general of the federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami and anti-corruption agencies to investigate the allegation of missing funds.

According to SERAP, the federal government can use the funds to implement the budget, instead of borrowing, if recovered.

Those joined as respondents in the suit include Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), and Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, budget and national planning.

In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/903/2021 filed last week before a 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.

SERAP through its lawyers, Kolawole Oluwadare and Joke Fekumo, said: “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.”

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

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