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SERAP drags Fashola to court for failing to disclose names of his contractors

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Economic rights and accountability group, (SERAP) has filed a law suit against the current minister of Power, Babatunde Fashola as a result of his “failure to disclose specific names and details of contractors and companies that allegedly collected money for electricity projects but failed to execute any projects, starting from the return of democracy in 1999 to 2018.”

The suit, which was sent to the Federal High court in Ikoyi, seeks, “an order for leave to apply for judicial review and an order of mandamus directing and/or compelling Mr Fashola to provide specific details on the names and whereabouts of the contractors who collected public funds meant for electricity projects but disappeared with the money without executing any projects.”

SERAP had earlier requested for freedom of information in January, however, the Minister of Information has now been directed that in 14 days, he should have released,  “the names of all contractors and companies that have been engaged in the power sector since the return of democracy in 1999 to date, details of specific projects and the amounts that have been paid to the contractors and companies, details on the level of implementation of electricity projects and their specific locations across the country.”

SERAP drags Fashola to court for failing to disclose names of his contractors

SERAP equally mentioned, “publishing the names will make it hard for contractors and companies to get away with complicity in grand corruption. The citizens have the right to see that the Freedom of Information Act is enforced where there is an infraction of the right to information or a threat of its being violated, in matters of public interests.”

 

Part of the suit reads thus.

“By compelling Mr. Fashola to name the contractors and their registration details, if any, Nigerians will be better able to hold them to account for allegedly absconding with public funds meant for electricity projects, thereby throwing the country into perpetual darkness and socio-economic stagnation as well as denying people their human rights.

 

“Granting the order as prayed would ensure that allegations of complicity in grand corruption by contractors and companies in the power sector do not go unpunished. Unless the names of the contractors and companies are disclosed and widely published, alleged corrupt contractors and companies executing electricity projects will not be deterred and the victims of corruption that they committed will continue to be denied justice and effective remedies.

 

“To date, no contractors or companies who allegedly collected money for electricity projects not executed or poorly executed have been investigated for corruption let alone prosecuted and fined. Senior public officials who apparently served as intermediaries for these contractors and companies continue to escape justice.”

 

“The allegations of corruption involving many contractors and companies in the power sector have continued to impair, obstruct and undermine the ability of successive governments to provide Nigerians with access to regular and uninterrupted electricity supply. Contractors and companies that allegedly disappeared with public funds meant for electricity projects may also be liable for aiding and abetting the commission of acts of grand corruption.”

 

The lawsuit equally seeks for the reliefs below.

  1. AN ORDERdirecting and/or compelling the Respondent to compile and make available to the Applicant do cuments containing the specific names and details of contactors and companies that have been engaged in the power sector since the return of democracy in 1999 to date, details, of specific projects and the amounts that have been paid to the contracts and companies, details on the level of implementation of electricity projects and their specific locations across the country and to publish widely including on a dedicated website, any such information
  2. AN ORDERdirecting and/or compelling the Respondent to compile and make available to the Applicant documents and information containing the specific names and details of contactors and companies that allegedly collected money for electricity projects but failed to execute any projects, starting from the return of democracy in 1999 to 2018 and to publish widely including on a dedicated website, any such information
  3. AN ORDERdirecting and/or compelling the Respondent to disclose if there is any ongoing investigation or prosecution of allegedly corrupt contractors and companies in the electricity sector
  4. A DECLARATIONthat the failure of the Respondent to provide the Applicant with information containing the specific names and details of contractors and companies that have been engaged in the power sector since the return of democracy in 1999 to date, details, of specific projects and the amounts that have been paid to the contractors and companies, details on the level of implementation of electricity projects and their specific locations across the country, and failure to widely publish it on a dedicated website, any such information amounts to a fundamental breach of the Freedom of Information Act 2011
  5. A DECLARATIONthat the failure of the Respondent to provide the Applicant with specific documents and information containing the names and details of contractors and companies that allegedly collected money for electricity projects but failed to execute any of such projects, starting from the return of democracy in 1999 to 2018 and failure to widely publish it on a dedicated website, any of such information amounts to a breach of the Freedom of Information Act 2011
  6. A DECLARATIONthat the failure of the Respondent to disclose if there is any ongoing investigation or prosecution of allegedly corrupts contractors and companies in the electricity sector amounts to a breach of the Freedom of Information Act 2011
  7. ANDfor such further order or orders as the Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstance.

“Publishing the names of contractors will contribute to ending a pattern of corruption in the power sector and improve access of Nigerians to regular and uninterrupted electricity supply. It will also allow citizens to track the level of execution of electricity projects by contractors and companies and reduce impunity for corrupt acts in the sector.”

“Granting the reliefs sought will ensure that punitive and dissuasive measures are taken against corrupt contractors and companies, shareholders and others that might have any ownership interests in companies responsible for failed execution of power projects in the country.”

“Former Nigeria’s Vice President and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar blew the whistle on Channels TV when he said, “We collected money from local, state and federal governments and others. Contractors were given some contracts and were paid hundred percent upfront. Up till now, we are not holding the contractors responsible. People have collected money upfront one hundred percent and have disappeared; and have not even done any work.”

The hearing date is not known yet.

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