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Judge Orders Release Of Payment Details To ‘Runaway' Electricity Contractors Under Buhari, Yar'Adua, Jonathan, Obasanjo's Governments


By Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos

The immediate release of details of payments to all defaulting and allegedly corrupt electricity contractors and companies by the governments of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, former President Goodluck Jonathan, and the government of Muhammadu Buhari, has been ordered.

The order was made last Friday by Justice Chuka Obiozor of a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos State, Nigeria.

The judge's decision came consequent upon a Freedom of Information suit number FHC/L/CS/105/19 brought by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP.

Specifically, Justice Obiozor directed, “The full disclosure and publication of the names of companies and the whereabouts of the contractors paid by successive governments since the return of democracy in 1999 to carry out electricity projects across the country but disappeared with the money without executing any projects.”

Justice Obiozor ordered to be disclosed and published on a dedicated website and widely, “specific names and details about contractors and companies paid by each government, the total amounts paid by each government and the objects for the payments, the level of implementation of electricity projects, as well as details and specific locations of projects executed across the country by each government since 1999.”

Further more, Justice Obiozor decided in the action brought against the Federal Government (FG) and the Ministry of Power, that, “The failure by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to provide SERAP with the details of payments made to contractors by each government since 1999 is a breach of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.”

The judge also made an order that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari should, “Urgently disclose if there is an ongoing investigation or prosecution of contractors and companies paid by successive governments since 1999 to carry out electricity projects but failed to execute the projects for which public funds were collected.”

The following reliefs were also granted in the judgment delivered by Justice Obiozor:

A DECLARATION is hereby made that the failure and/or refusal of the Respondent [Federal Government/Ministry of Power] to provide SERAP with documents and information containing the specific names and details of contractors and companies that have been engaged in the power sector by successive governments since 1999, 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 of such information, amounts to a breach of the obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2011

A DECLARATION is hereby made that the failure and/or refusal of the Respondent [Federal Government/Ministry of Power] to provide SERAP with specific documents and information containing the specific names and details of contractors and companies that allegedly collected money for electricity projects from successive governments since 1999 but failed to execute any of such projects, and failure to  widely publish it  on a dedicated website, any of such information, amounts to a breach of the Respondent’s responsibility/obligation under the Freedom of Information Act 2011

AN ORDER OF MANDAMUS is made directing and compelling the Respondent [Federal Government/Ministry of Power] to urgently compile and make available to SERAP documents and information containing the specific names and details of contactors and companies that have been engaged in the power sector by successive governments 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 of such information

AN ORDER OF MANDAMUS is made directing and compelling the Respondent [Federal Government/Ministry of Power] to urgently compile and make available to SERAP documents and information containing the specific names and details of contactors and companies that allegedly collected money for electricity projects from successive governments since 1999 but failed to execute any projects

A DECLARATION is hereby made that the failure and/or refusal of the Respondent [Federal Government/Ministry of Power] to urgently disclose if there is an ongoing investigation or prosecution of allegedly corrupt contractors and companies in the electricity sector, amounts to a breach of the Respondent’s responsibility/obligation under the Freedom of Information Act 2011

AN ORDER OF MANDAMUS is made directing and compelling the Respondent [Federal Government/Ministry of Power] to urgently disclose if there is an ongoing investigation or prosecution of allegedly corrupt contractors and companies in the electricity sector.

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