SERAP to court: Compel Fashola to name contractors who disappeared with project money

Chukwudi Nweje

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has dragged the Minister of Power, Works and Housing Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, before the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, over contracts awarded by the Federal Government in the power sector from 1999 to date.

In the suit, FHC/L/CS/105/19, filed last week, the organisation is seeking “an order for leave to apply for judicial review and an order of mandamus directing and/or compelling Mr. 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 projects.”

The suit was filed pursuant to the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act, and dated January 4, 2019; SERAP also gave Fashola 14 days to publish the names of all contractors and companies engaged in the power sector since “1999 to date, 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.”

The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its counsel, Adelanke Aremo, is seeking seven reliefs: “An order directing and/or compelling the Respondent to compile and make available to the Applicant documents containing the specific names and details of contractors and companies that have been engaged in the power sector 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 such information,” among others reliefs.

A statement yesterday signed by Ms. Bamisope Adeyanju, Senior Legal Adviser, said making the names of the contractors public “will contribute to ending a pattern of corruption in the power sector and improve access of Nigerians to regular and uninterrupted electricity supply. It will also allow citizens to track the level of execution of electricity projects by contractors and companies and reduce impunity for corrupt acts in the sector.”

“An order directing and/or compelling the Respondent to compile and make available to the Applicant documents and information containing the specific names and details of contractors and companies that allegedly collected money for electricity projects but failed to execute any projects, starting from the return of democracy in 1999 to 2018 and to publish widely including on a dedicated website, any such information.”

“An Order directing and/or compelling the Respondent to disclose if there is any ongoing investigation or prosecution of allegedly corrupt contractors and companies in the electricity sector

 “A Declaration that the failure of the Respondent to provide the Applicant with information containing the specific names and details of contractors and companies that have been engaged in the power sector since the return of democracy in 1999 to date, 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 such information amounts to a fundamental breach of the Freedom of Information Act 2011;

“A Declaration that the failure of the Respondent to provide the Applicant with specific documents and information containing the names and details of contractors and companies that allegedly collected money for electricity projects but failed to execute any of such projects, starting from the return of democracy in 1999 to 2018 and failure to widely publish it on a dedicated website, any of such information amounts to a breach of the Freedom of Information Act 2011;

“A Declaration that the failure of the Respondent to disclose if there is any ongoing investigation or prosecution of allegedly corrupts contractors and companies in the electricity sector amounts to a breach of the Freedom of Information Act 2011; and

“AND for such further order or orders as the Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstance.

A statement yesterday signed by Ms. Bamisope Adeyanju its Senior Legal Adviser said making the names of the contractors public “will contribute to ending a pattern of corruption in the power sector and improve access of Nigerians to regular and uninterrupted electricity supply. It will also allow citizens to track the level of execution of electricity projects by contractors and companies and reduce impunity for corrupt acts in the sector.”

Though no date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit, SERAP noted that the reliefs “will ensure that punitive and dissuasive measures are taken against corrupt contractors and companies, shareholders and others that might have any ownership interests in companies responsible for failed execution of power projects in the country.”

She noted that former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who is the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), exposed alleged corruption in the power sector contracts in a Channels TV programme.

Atiku was quoted as saying “We collected money from local, state and federal governments and others. Contractors were given some contracts and were paid hundred percent upfront. Up till now, we are not holding the contractors responsible. People have collected money upfront one hundred percent and have disappeared; and have not even done any work.”

The post SERAP to court: Compel Fashola to name contractors who disappeared with project money appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.

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