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SERAP files suit against Lawan, Gbajabiamila over alleged missing N4.1bn NASS funds

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has instituted a lawsuit against the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan and Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila in respect to alleged misappropriation of N4.1billion National Assembly funds.

This was contained in a statement issued on Sunday by the SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, who slammed the NASS leadership over “their failure to probe, and to refer to appropriate anti-corruption agencies fresh allegations that N4.1bn of public money budgeted for the National Assembly is missing, misappropriated or stolen.”

Ripples Nigeria gathered that this suit came in the wake of the publication of the annual audited report for 2016 in which the Auditor-General of the Federation.

The report had raised “concerns about alleged diversion and misappropriation of public funds and sought the recovery of any missing funds.”

In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1609/2021 filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja, SERAP is seeking: “an order of mandamus to direct and compel Dr Lawan and Mr Gbajabiamila to perform their constitutional oversight functions to promptly probe the allegations that fresh N4.1bn budgeted for the National Assembly may be missing.

READ ALSO: Buhari worried about alterations in 2022 budget made by NASS

The organisation further argued that “the National Assembly had legal and constitutional duties to prevent and combat corruption, as well as promote transparency and accountability in the management of public resources.

“The National Assembly can only effectively perform its anti-corruption role if it can demonstrate exemplary leadership to probe the allegations of corruption and mismanagement involving the legislative body.

“The failure of the National Assembly to promptly and thoroughly investigate, and to refer to appropriate anti-corruption agencies the allegations documented in the annual audited report for 2016 is a fundamental breach of the oversight and public interest duties imposed on the legislative body.

“This suit seeks to vindicate the rule of law, the public interest, and to promote transparency and accountability. Government agencies and institutions are responsible to a court of justice for the lawfulness of what they do, and of that the court is the only judge.”

SERAP also stated that “these fresh allegations are not part of the disclosure by the Auditor-General in the audited reports for 2015, 2017 and 2018 that N4.4 billion of National Assembly money is missing, misappropriated or stolen.

“According to the Auditor-General report for 2016, N4,144,706,602.68 of National Assembly money is missing, diverted or stolen. The National Assembly paid some contractors N417,312,538.79 without any documents. The Auditor-General wants the Clerk to the National Assembly to ‘recover the amount in question from the contractors.’”

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

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