The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has given President Muhammadu Buhari a 14-day ultimatum to probe over N300 billion missing public funds or gets his government ready for lawsuit.
According to SERAP, Buhari should direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, and appropriate anti-corruption agencies to urgently investigate allegations that over N300 billion of public funds are missing, mismanaged, diverted or stolen, as documented in the 2017 audited report by the Auditor General of the Federation (AGF).
It also urged him to ask “Mr Malami and the anti-corruption agencies to promptly investigate the extent and patterns of widespread and endemic corruption in the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) indicted in the audited report. We urge you to take meaningful and effective measures to clean up an apparently entrenched system of corruption these MDAs.”
In the letter dated 4 July, 2020 and signed by SERAP’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “The 2017 audited report reveals grim allegations of mismanagement, diversion and stealing of public funds, as well as unaccounted-for spending. The report suggests a grave violation of the public trust, and that the indicted MDAs and the National Assembly lack effective and credible internal processes to prevent and combat corruption.”
SERAP said, “Investigating and prosecuting the alleged grand corruption documented by the AGF would improve the chances of success of your government’s oft-repeated commitment to fight corruption and end the impunity of perpetrators. It will improve the integrity of MDAs, serve the public interest, as well as improve Nigerians’ access to public services and goods.”
SERAP added also that: “Any failure to promptly investigate the allegations and prosecute suspected perpetrators would breach Nigeria’s anti-corruption legislation, including the Public Procurement Act, the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended) and the country’s obligations including under the UN Convention against Corruption and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to which Nigeria is a state party.”
Mr Abukabar Malami; Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC); Ibrahim Mustafa Magu, Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC); and Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning were all copied in the letter.