An Abuja Federal High Court in a landmark judgment has ordered the immediate disclosure of the $5 billion Late General Sani Abacha looted from the Nigeria Treasury which was recovered by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President Umaru Yar’Adua, Former President Goodluck Jonathan and Former President Muhammadu Buhari.
The court ordered President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led government to disclose the exact amount of money stolen by General Sani Abacha from Nigeria treasury, and the total amount of Abacha loot recovered and all agreements signed by the governments of former president Olusegun Obasanjo, former president Umaru Yar’Adua, former president Goodluck Jonathan and former president Muhammadu Buhari.
Justice James Omotosho delivered the judgments following a Freedom of Information suit brought by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).
Justice James Omotosho held that in the final analysis, the application by SERAP is meritorious and the Federal Government through the Ministry of Finance is hereby ordered to furnish SERAP with the full spending details of about $5 billion Abacha looted from the Nigeria treasury within 7 days of this judgment.
The judge also ordered the government to disclose details of the projects executed with the Abacha loot, locations of any such projects and the names of companies and contractors that carried or are carrying out the projects since the return of democracy in 1999 till date.
He further requested the disclosure of details of specific roles played by the World Bank and other partners in the execution of any projects funded with Abacha looted money under the governments of former president Olusegun Obasanjo, former president Umaru Yar’Adua, former president Goodluck Jonathan and former president Muhammadu Buhari.
The excuse by the Minister of Finance is that the Ministry has searched its records and the details of the exact public funds stolen by Abacha and how the funds have been spent are not held by the Ministry. The excuse has no leg to stand in view of section 7 of the Freedom of Information Act, Justice James Omotosho stated. He however dismissed all the objections raised by the Federal Government and upheld SERAP’s arguments.
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