Group urges AGF to sue states over alleged diversion of London-Paris Club loan
A Lagos-based rights group, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has urged the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to initiate legal action against state governments that allegedly diverted and mismanaged the N388.304 billion London Paris Club loan refunds.
According to SERAP’s information, the Federal Government released N388.304 billion of the N522.74 billion to 35 states as refunds of over-deductions on London-Paris Club loans.
Also, SERAP in an open letter to the Accountant-General of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Idris, signed by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, urged him to compile and pass on information on the spending of the funds by states to Malami so that he can take appropriate legal action to “compel the states to widely publish, including on a dedicated website, details of spending of the funds by them.”
The group, therefore, threatened legal action if action is not taken within seven days of the receipt and/or publication of the letter.
The letter reads in part: “Pursuing such action will also send a strong message that President Muhammadu Buhari would not tolerate corruption in the disbursement of funds by his government no matter who is involved. Such legal action will be deemed incidental to the power of the Federal Government to achieve effective implementation of anti-corruption legislation such as the ICPC Act, which is applicable in all states of the federation, and will not amount to interference with activities within the states involved.
“The Accountant-General of the Federation ought to be decisive in this matter and pass on the information on the release and spending of the funds, especially given the fact that the current economic problem and recession is largely attributable to widespread corruption and abuse of power, and that foreign countries generally regard and treat Nigerians as corrupt people.
“To do otherwise is to limit the scope of the anti-corruption agenda of the Federal Government, and encourage impunity for alleged corruption and mismanagement within these states.
“SERAP is seriously concerned about allegations of corruption and mismanagement of funds by several states, including under-declaration of refunds; diversion of some of the loan funds; curious payment of service charge to some consultants and tracing of some of the cash to personal accounts of some governors.
“Rather than spending the funds to pay all outstanding salaries of workers and provide targeted social assistance schemes for pensioners, several states have allegedly diverted and mismanaged the funds.”