A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to give an account of the $460 million Chinese loan meant for the failed Abuja Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) project.
Naija News recalls that the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) had in December 2019 filed a lawsuit against the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, over failure to disclose information and specific documents on the total amount of money paid to contractors from the $460 million loan obtained in 2010 from China to fund the Abuja CCTV project.
Ahmed had disclosed that Nigeria was servicing the loan, adding that she had no explanations on the status of the project.
In a statement made available to this online new platform on Sunday, SERAP disclosed that the Court had demanded that the government publish the total amount of money paid to Chinese and local companies and contractors and specific details of the names of the companies and contractors and status of the implementation of the project.
Justice Emeka Nwite gave the orders last week while delivering judgment in a Freedom of Information suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/1447/2019 brought by SERAP.
In his judgment, Justice Nwite agreed with SERAP that there is a reasonable cause of action against the government, adding that accounting for the spending of the $460 million Chinese loan is in the interest of the public.
Justice Nwite also said that the Minister of Finance is in charge of the finance of the country and cannot by any stretch of imagination be oblivious of the amount of money paid to the contractors for the Abuja CCTV contract and the money meant for the construction of the headquarters of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
“SERAP’s core objectives are to promote human rights, transparency and accountability and anticorruption in Nigeria.
“I am of the humble view that there is a reasonable cause of action against the government [through the Minister of Finance] and I so hold that SERAP has made out a case to be entitled to the reliefs sought.
“The law is well settled that where a document or letter is sent by post, it is the law that same is taken or presumed to have been delivered,” he said.