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SERAP sues Lawan, Gbajabiamila over failure to publish details of corruption probes

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila over their failure to publish reports of all completed public hearings and corruption probes by the National Assembly since 1999, and failure to disclose the number of probes that have resulted in any indictment of suspects, and to name such suspects.

The suit followed recent public hearings by the National Assembly on corruption allegations in ministries, departments and agencies, including the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), and Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).

Reports of several public hearings and corruption probes have remained secret, and the allegations unresolved.

In the suit filed last week at the Federal High Court, Abuja, SERAP is seeking an order of mandamus to compel Lawan and Gbajabiamila to send all reports of completed public hearings and corruption probes to appropriate anti-corruption agencies to consider if there is sufficient admissible evidence to pursue prosecution.

SERAP is also seeking an order for leave to apply for judicial review and an order of mandamus to direct Lawan and Gbajabiamila to widely publish all reports of completed public hearings and corruption probes by the Senate and the House of Representatives, and to disclose the number and names of any indicted suspects since 1999.

SERAP is asking the court for an order of mandamus to direct and compel Lawan and Gbajabiamila to sponsor a resolution to stop lawmakers from directly getting involved in the execution of projects by MDAs, and to ensure the proper and effective exercise of their oversight functions over corruption allegations including in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).

The suit followed SERAP’s Freedom of Information (FoI) requests dated 25 July, 2020, stating that: “The most effective way to deter corruption is to make the cost of engaging in these types of acts higher than the rewards. This end can only be accomplished by making public the reports and pursuing public accountability for corrupt acts.”

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

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