SERAP sues Okonjo-Iweala over missing N30tn

FILE PHOTO: Former Finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala laying the budget before National Assembly Lawmakers
FILE PHOTO: Former Finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala laying the budget before National Assembly Lawmakers

A civil society group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has dragged the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to court over “failure to provide information about spending of the alleged missing N30tn, which represents some accruable income to the Federal Government in the past four years”.

The suit, filed at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, followed a Freedom of Information request by SERAP to Mrs Okonjo-Iweala dated February 2.

The originating summon, with suit number FHC/L/CS/196/2015, was filed on behalf of the organization by Senior Staff Attorney, Olukayode Majekodunmi.

SERAP’s suit followed disclosure by the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo that over N30tn had been missing, or stolen, or unaccounted for, or simply mismanaged under the minister’s watch.

In the suit, SERAP argued that “a necessary implication of the rule of law is that a public functionary and institution can only act in accordance with the law, as to do otherwise may enthrone arbitrariness. Obedience to the rule of law by all citizens but more particularly those who publicly took oath of office to protect and preserve the constitution is a desideratum to good governance. In a democratic society, this is meant to be a norm; it is an apostasy for public official like the Minister of Finance to ignore the provisions of the law.”

SERAP also argued that Mrs Okonjo-Iweala “As trustee of public funds has a legal duty to render account on the missing N30tn to the beneficiaries (Nigerians) of the trust, if and when called upon to do so.”

The organisation also argued that Mrs Okonjo-Iweala “has so far failed, refused and/or neglected to provide the Plaintiff with the details of the information requested. By virtue of Section 1(1) of the FOI Act 2011, the Plaintiff is entitled as of right to request for or gain access to information which is in the custody or possession of any public official, agency or institution. By the provisions of Section 2(7) and 31 of the FOI Act 2011, the Defendant is a public official.”

“By virtue of Section 4 (a) of the FOI Act when a person makes a request for information from a public official, institution or agency, the public official, institution or urgency to whom the application is directed is under a binding legal obligation to provide the applicant with the information requested for, except as otherwise provided by the Act, within 7 days after the application is received. By Sections 2(3)(d)(V) & (4) of the FOI Act, there is a binding legal duty to ensure that documents containing information relating to spending of the alleged missing N30tn is widely disseminated and made readily available to members of the public through various means,” the organization also said.

According to the organization, “The information requested for, apart from not being exempted from disclosure under the FOI Act, bothers on an issue of national interest, public peace and security, public concern, social justice, good governance, transparency and accountability. The Defendant will not suffer any injury or prejudice if the information is released to the Plaintiff.”

The organization also argued that, “Unless the reliefs sought herein are granted, the Defendant will continue to be in breach of the Freedom of Information Act, and other statutory responsibilities. It is in the interest of justice to grant this application as the Defendant have nothing to lose if the application is granted.”

“As a key agency of government, the Ministry of Finance has a sacred duty to ensure that the country’s resources and wealth is used solely to fulfil the basic economic and social rights of all Nigerians and achieve the country’s overall socio-economic development. This implies providing strong leadership in the efforts to curb public sector corruption, and to refer to appropriate anticorruption agencies any allegations of corruption in which any agencies of government may be involved or officials of your Ministry may be complicit,” the organization also argued.

“Therefore, it is necessary to provide clarity as to what exactly happened to the missing N30tn if the Ministry of Finance is to continue to play a leadership role in the transparent and accountable management of the country’s resources and wealth, and to enjoy the public trust and confidence essential for the Ministry’s effectiveness and impact,” the organization further stated.

The organization is also seeking “a declaration that by virtue of the provisions of Section 4 (a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, the Defendant is under a binding legal obligation to provide the Plaintiff with up to date information relating to the spending of the alleged missing N30tn, which represents some accruable income to the Federal Government in the past four years including: a) any receipt, however described, arising from the operation of any law; b) any return, however described, arising from or in respect of any property held by the Government of the Federation; c) any return by way of interest on loans and dividends in respect of shares or interest held by the Government of the Federation in any company or statutory body.”

No date has been fixed for hearing of the application.


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  • Norman-Williams

    Accountability is the meaning of government. All citizens must press for it.

    • God dey

      I totally agree!

  • Yusuf

    she will not join issues with u guys, she has already assured Jona that America did not believe Soludo on the N30tr and thats all that concerns Jona who owns all the courts in Nigeria

    • God dey

      It means shhe has got something to add. If not she should be bold enough to respond publicly to SERAP. That is if she has any name to protect. On 28 March I stand!

  • burning spear

    Only a man with mental troubles———like the elites in APC led by Falana will go disgrace themselves in court with issues such as this rubbish——————-How can a sane person ask Ngozi to acccount for revenue which would have come from the theft of crude oil——————–or customs duties——————? These are abstract things that cannot be quantified—————crude oil was discovered in 1957————– export of my crude oil started in 1960————-will Nigeria be able to account for all the revenue that has accrued to the sale of crude oil sicne 1960 till date?—————the answer is a big no-So what is the sense in asking government to account for money that it did not earn?—————The entire idea is not that the Falana group—–actually yearn to mAKE GOVERNMENT BECOME ACCOUNTABLE———————BUT TO MAKE GOVERNMENT BE SEN AS CORRUPT——————–ONLY DURING THE PERIOD OF JONATHAN—————KALAS———-nONE FOR THE ERA OF GOWON–9YRS—OBASANJO-3YRS–SHAGARI-4YR———-BUHARI–2YRS——-IBB-8YRS-ABACHA–6YRS—OBJ—-8YRS—YARA ADUA———2YRS————-JONATHAN 4YRS

    • Dan Arewa

      Keep burning>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

  • burning spear

    THIS IS NOTHING BUT AN INSULT TO NIGERIANS——–

  • August January

    How could she have provided it? It’s not possible. Where do you think all the billions of naira Jonathan is throwing around came from? Just wait, you will still hear more. Jonathan has grounded Nigeria already. It’s simply part of the causes of the fuel scarcity in town presently

    • Romeo Ligali

      Stop thinking with your nose, but think with your head. After PWC carried out a forensic audit, the report was read in the open indicting some individual in NNPC. And for your notice, they said N30 trillion naira was not missing. So get the facts right. It is because you are biased in your thinking that is why you attack innocent people. I’m sorry for SERAP because facts will be shown to them in court and they will be put to shame. *LAUGHING AT YOU* This political move by SERAP to slow Madam Iweala down will not work, they should think of something else.

      • August January

        Why are you betraying your ignorance in the public forum? You are ignorantly mixing issues together — the one you’re talking about is in relation to Sanusi and NNPC. Anyway, you can’t but confuse issues together, because there are too much sources you steal from! First, Soludo made it clear that what he was talking about what not the money missing in NNPC, but others sources, that is, in addition to the one missing in NNPC — apart from the first article where he said it, he clarified it again in the second article. This shows you never read the 2 articles, or the level of economic analysis was too high for your infantile brain to understand the details. Second, why have you not published the entire report? You chose the parts you thought were less offensive, is that how to make audit reports known to the public? Third, more than a billion naira was admitted to be missing, what would have happened to that huge sum of money if Sanusi did not cry out that money was missing? Anyway, for your president Jonathan, that’s mere stealing, not corruption. Lastly, isn’t it interesting that it was the same person who was at the centre of the graft (Jonathan’s supervising minister of the economy, madam Okonjo) that appointed the auditor instead of Accountant General of the Federation who should have done the appointment? And for your information, this was why the House of Representatives ordered Okonjo to make the full report available to its members, which she found difficult to do, because the House had to issue the order the second time. So, reasonable Nigerians know what’s going on. Corrupt thieves!

  • Yusuf

    she will not join issues with u guys, she has already assured Jona that America did not believe Soludo on the N30tr and thats all that concerns Jona who owns all the courts in Nigeria

  • Cyril

    Why not ask the Auditor-Gen of the federation to publish the report; people could be funny o! Why not sue the President himself asking him to publish the report abi have they forgotten that Jona is the boss of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. They just enjoy roping this woman in what does she is not totally responsible for.

  • Otile

    Najeriya needs to divide, the rubbish is too much on the wealth producers from SE SS. Parasites have shown us hell.

  • trippi

    Yawns….

  • Philip

    N30trillion , an equivalent of over $200 billion before devaluation of naira recently. So SERAP thinks Nigeria made that much in 4yrs and all of it disappeared. When soludo mention that amount, did he provide details or document to even support his allegation. I am sure he was referring to grains of sand at Lagos beach as money. How can people take such figures seriously. Nigerian budget for 2015 is around N4 trillion. Thus is the biggest budget we ever had. Even if we have had this amount in budget every year, it will take over 7yrs to get N30 trillion, so how can a government now loot such amount in 4 yrs.

  • Timi

    PT no get better pishure of this babe? This photo no gel at all. Pls give us better photo and not dis one where she looks like 1Oyrs older than even Duncee.

  • Kudril

    This is not fair; this is just another political ploy to damage reputation. Okonjo Iweala should not be dragged into the alleged corruption that has been inherent in the system since the creation of this country. All she has ever done is to be transparent and relayed information to the averaged Nigerian on what is going on in government. It is so wrong for SERAP to drag her to court. I believe the truth will set her free.

  • Timothy

    I’m not surprised because the confused Soludo has passed on his confusion to SERAP. And they are now acting on unclear information. Soludo said in his opinion that what he gave was a rough estimate in which the government and other relevant bodies have attacked him based on what he said was not true. So what basis is the so called SERAP dragging the minister to court? I think this is a sponsored attempt to slow the Minister and to attack this government.

  • Larry Nkoma

    SERAP and their cheap way of wanting to gain recognition. Nigerians don’t even know if they exist. Only for them to come out that they are dragging the minister of finance to court. We look at the big picture as Nigerians thinking that is the problem, meanwhile the smaller picture like the everyday right of the average Nigerian is being left to wallow away. What have the so called SERAP done about that? What I know for sure is that they just want to gain cheap recognition by them getting involved with a minister whom the whole Nigeria and the world know she is transparent.

  • Romeo Ligali

    After the forensic audit was carried out, individuals in the NNPC were indicted and PWC that carried out the audit said that such amount was not missing. Such amount cannot be missing under the watch of an Okonjo Iweala. Even Mallam Elrufai said it that is not possible because he can verge on the integrity of an Okonjo Iweala. I now wondered where Prof. Charlse Soludo got his own figures from. Even the opposition party has condemned what he said. The lawsuit filed by SERAP is now under what basis? This is political it should be thrown out of the court so as not to allow the court waste time on an issue that lacks facts.

  • Kola

    I can’t stop laughing!!! You only need to run a cursory search to discover that this group called SERAP is a bunch of shameless noisemakers. They are always suing and threatening to sue over the most flimsy insinuations.

  • Salisu Ibrahim

    Funny SERAP, It is simply because they are jobless. If they want to sue, they should focus on Lagos, so many forms of corruption are going on in Lagos. Since they can sue for a 30trn that is not missing I think they should increase it to 100trn. They should even include all the taxes that should have been collected and all the revenues that should have been made. And I think the money will increase to about 300trn. They need help; if they need to get busy they should reach me. Take your cap off your head and think with your brains.

  • Temisan

    SERAP my foot! I have always maintained that Okonjo-Iweala is fast
    becoming the easiest way for anyone to achieve cheap popularity in this
    country. You want to become famous overnight and be trumped by political
    gladiators? Criticise Okonjo-Iweala. Therefore, SERAP should SHARAP!

  • David

    She looks like a bloated pig

    • Yemmie

      It is clear that you need some serious attention. Your words betray the rottenness of your character.

  • Chuks

    It is rather unfortunate that supposedly enlightened people would descend so low to pursue their selfish ends under the veil of national interest. Since SERAP seems to be so interested in Soludo’s phantom N30 trillion, they should show an equal degree of enthusiasm towards recovering projected revenue losses from other sources such as solid minerals, uncollected taxes and various loopholes across the states. In fact, they should also account for the loss incurred through Boko Haram insurgency and hold Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala responsible for that too. Very ridiculous!

  • Yomade

    Wait a minute! What are these jobless people saying? Did they just sue for N30 trillion which is a mere product of Soludo’s imaginations? When did speculations become a valid ground for instituting a legal case?

  • Giggs

    What SERAP should have done is to have verified the efficacy
    of the ridiculous claim of missing money by the former CBN governor, Soludo,
    and demanded for a proof of his claim before calling for any defence on the
    side of government. We would have seen them as credible and unprejudiced as
    they ought to have appeared.

  • Shaanu Akow

    The law suit is nothing but a blatant propagandists’ campaign against the incumbent government and can only thrill the ignorant. There are better thing to do by SERAP than the negativism project they are championing.

  • Olumide Abas

    I would have been surprised
    if this calumny is not coming at sensitive time like this. How more insincere
    can this get! Is SERAP now saying that Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the author of the
    mismanagement of the NNPC and Petroleum Ministry? I completely disagree. If
    Okonjo-Iweala must be sued on this alleged missing trillions, then I think
    every responsible Nigerian should present themselves to SERAP to be sued,
    because as far as am concerned the Nigerian problem is systemic and must not be
    placed on any one person’s desk.

  • Daniel

    This is utter nonsense by a group of jobless noisemakers. Anyone who has been following the activities of SERAP will be familiar with their penchant for initiating flimsy lawsuits just to gain popularity. Who goes to court based on speculations expressed in an opinion article? Only tactless people like Serap or sharap would do such nonsense.