I can’t find corrupt contractors in our record, Fashola replies SERAP

Babatunde Raji Fashola, Minister of Works, Power and Housing.

Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has said that the ministry could not find details of contractors and companies that allegedly collected money for electricity projects and failed to executive them.

Fashola was responding to the request by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) following its litigation last month at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos.

The suit FHC/L/CS/105/19 is seeking “an order for leave to apply for judicial review and an order of mandamus directing and/or compelling Fashola to provide specific details on the names and whereabouts of the contractors who collected public funds meant for electricity projects but disappeared with the money without executing any project.”

However, in the letter dated January 27, 2019, but which SERAP said it received at its office on February 7, Fashola said: “We have searched the ministry’s record and the information you applied for is not held by the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing (Power Sector).”

The letter signed on the minister’s behalf by the director (Legal Services), Mrs. Adesola Shoetan, read in part: “I am directed to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated January 4, 2019 in which you applied for request to disclose details of alleged corrupt contractors and companies that collected money for electricity projects but failed to execute any project. The request has been handled under the FOI Act.”

But SERAP in a letter signed by its deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, and dated February 8, said: “The public expectation is that government information, when in the hands of any public institution or agency, should be available to the public, as prescribed by the FoI Act.

“The FoI Act should always be used as an authority for disclosing information rather than withholding it.

“Indiscriminate attempts to limit disclosure of information of public interest such as the details of the names of alleged corrupt contractors and companies that SERAP is seeking would undermine the government’s expressed commitment to transparency and accountability.”

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Babatunde FasholaSERAP
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