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The Federal Government has said it would publish the names of high-ranking public officials from whom it recovered stolen public funds.


The Federal High Court on Wednesday ordered the government to publish the names.

Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, told State House correspondents, on Thursday, that the government is in agreement with the ruling and will carry out the order.

Justice Hadiza Shagari gave the order while delivering judgment in a suit filed against the Federal Government by a human rights advocacy group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project.

The Federal Government had last year, through the Ministry of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed that it had recovered cash sums of N78,325,354,631.82, $185,119,584.61, £3,508,355.46 and €11, 250, among others, between May 29, 2015 and May 25, 2016.

The names of persons from whom the funds were recovered were, however, not made public.

SERAP had last year filed the suit, seeking a court order to compel the Federal Government to make the names public.

The group urged the court to determine whether by virtue of Section 4(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, the Federal was not under an obligation to publish the looters’ names as it had requested.

In a judgment on Wednesday, Justice Shagari, upheld the group’s argument that “by virtue of the provisions of Section 4 (a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, the defendants are under a binding legal obligation to provide the plaintiff with up-to-date information” as regards the names of the high-ranking public officials from whom the funds were recovered as well as “the circumstances under which the stolen public funds were returned.”

SERAP had, in its suit marked FHC/CS/964/2016, contended thatby releasing the names of the looters, the Federal Government had nothing to lose.

“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.”



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