ahmed-idris

SERAP to FG: Go to court over alleged diversion of N388.304bn Paris Club loan refunds by states

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) has written to the Accountant – General of the Federation Alh. Ahmed Idris, FCNA requesting him “to urgently pass on information to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, SAN relating to the release of N388.304 billion London Paris Club loan refunds to 35 states by the federal government so that Mr Malami can take steps to initiate legal action against the states that allegedly diverted and mismanaged the funds.”

The organization asked Alh. Idris to compile and pass on information on the spending of the funds by states to Mr Malami so that he can take appropriate legal action to “compel the states to widely publish, including on a dedicated website, details of spending of the funds by them.”

“We request that you take this step within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter, failing which SERAP will institute legal proceedings to compel the discharge of duty in this matter.”

In the open letter dated 17 February 2017 and signed by SERAP executive director Adetokunbo Mumuni the organization said: “SERAP strongly believes that passing on information on the spending by states of N388.304 billion London Paris Club loan refunds to Mr Malami and bringing a case against the states that have allegedly diverted and mismanaged funds meant for payment of salaries and pension is rational, and would be a powerful tool to deter corruption in the states of the federation.”
The letter reads in part: “Pursuing such action will also send a strong message that President Muhammadu Buhari would not tolerate corruption in the disbursement of funds by his government no matter who is involved.”
“Such legal action will be deemed incidental to the power of the federal government to achieve effective implementation of anticorruption legislation such as the ICPC Act, which is applicable in all states of the federation, and will not amount to interference with activities within the states involved.”
“The Accountant General of the Federation ought to be decisive in this matter and pass on the information on the release and spending of the funds, especially given the fact that the current economic problem and recession is largely attributable to widespread corruption and abuse of power, and that foreign countries generally regard and treat Nigerians as corrupt people.”

“To do otherwise is to limit the scope of the anticorruption agenda of the federal government, and encourage impunity for alleged corruption and mismanagement within these states.”

“Rather than spending the funds to pay all outstanding salaries of workers and provide targeted social assistance schemes for pensioners, several states have allegedly diverted and mismanaged the funds.”

“SERAP is also concerned that allegations of corruption and mismanagement  in the spending of N388.304 billion London Paris Club loan refunds have undermined the human dignity of workers and pensioners facing difficult circumstances that deprive them of their capacity to fully realize their internationally recognized economic and social rights.”
“The allegations of corruption in the spending of the London Paris Club loan refunds have also exacerbated poverty, social exclusion, and violated the government’s obligation to use its maximum available resources to fully realize the right of all persons especially workers and pensioners who are the most vulnerable sectors of the population.”
“Allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the spending of N388.304 billion London Paris Club loan refunds by states are of utmost national concerns, as they affect the body politic of the country, and undermine constitutional authority of the federal government to fight corruption and abuse of power under enabling legislation.”
“Legal action your office is also wholly consistent with the aim of the Constitution to wipe out corrupt practices, as entrenched in section 15(5) of the1999 Constitution (as amended) which provides that “the state shall abolish corrupt practices and abuse of power.”
“SERAP notes that President Muhammadu Buhari has promised that his government will take corruption and abuse of power regardless of who is involved, and underscored the fact that there can be no sustainable development where corruption is the norm.”

“SERAP therefore asks you to release the information on the funds to Mr Malami so that he can take steps to pursue appropriate legal action against states that allegedly diverted and mismanaged the London Paris Club loan refunds with a view to seeking from the state publication of the following including on a dedicated website: a. Detailed information on the total amount of the London Paris Club loan refunds that have been spent by each state; b. Details on the total amount of the funds spent on outstanding workers’ salaries and pension as well as other projects as appropriate.”

“According to SERAP’s information, the Federal Government released N388.304billion of the N522.74 billion to 35 states as refunds of over-deductions on London-Paris Club loans. The amounts received by the states are as follows: Akwa Ibom N14.5bn; Bayelsa N14.5bn; Delta N14.5bn; Kaduna N14.3bn; Katsina N14,5bn; Lagos N14.5bn; Rivers N14.5bn; Borno N13,654138,849.49; Imo 13bn; Jigawa 13.2bn; Niger N13.4bn; Bauchi N12.7bn and Benue N12.7bn.”

“Other states Anambra N11.3bn; Cross River N11.3bn8; Edo N11.3bn; Kebbi N11bn; Kogi N11.2bn; Osun N11.7bn; Sokoto N11.9bn; Abia N10.6bn; Ogun N10.6bn; Plateau N10.4bn; Yobe N10bn; and Zamfara N10bn. Other states are: Adamawa N4.8bn; Ebonyi N3.3bn; Ekiti N8.8bn; Enugu N9.9bn; Gombe N8.3bn; Kwara N5.4bn; Nasarawa N8.4bn; Ondo N6.5bn; Oyo N7.2bn and Taraba N4.2bn.”

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