A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government to give account of how N30 trillion that accrued to government during the last four years of the former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration was managed.
Justice Ibrahim Buba said the former minister of finance and the Federal Government should have made the requested information available about the money or given reasons why it could not be obliged within the stipulated period, in conformity with the Freedom of Information Act.
A civil rights group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) through its Deputy Director, Olukayode Majekodunmi, made the judgement delivered last week, available to journalists in a statement at the weekend.
SERAP said it embarked on the suit, tagged: FHC/L/CS/196/2015, following the revelations by the former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Charles Soludo, that at least N30 trillion “has either been stolen or unaccounted for, or grossly mismanaged over the last few years under the watch of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
“Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government have no legally justifiable reason for refusing to provide SERAP with the information requested for. The Court has gone through the application and agrees that SERAP’s application has merits and the argument is not opposed. SERAP’s application is granted,” the judge was quoted as saying.
The judge was also said to have aligned with the submission of SERAP that Dr Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government “should have either supplied the information requested by SERAP or communicate her denial within 7 days of receipt of the letter from SERAP if she considers that the request should be denied.”