The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos ordered Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to account for the monies accrued to the Federal Government between 2011 and 2015.
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) had sued the duo to furnish them with information the nation’s monies and how it was spent.
SERAP’s suit was hinged on one of Professor Soludo’s open challenge to the Goodluck administration on what he described as “Stolen N30 trillion or unaccounted for, or grossly mismanaged over the last few years under the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s watch.”
Presiding over the case, Justice Buba ruled that “Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government have no legally justifiable reason for refusing to provide SERAP with the information requested for.
“SERAP’s application is granted as prayed. The preliminary objection is on the following grounds: that SERAP did not obtain the mandatory leave of the Federal High Court to issue and serve Originating Summons and other processes outside Lagos State.
That there is no mandatory endorsement on the Originating Summons that it is to be served on Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government in Abuja and outside jurisdiction of this Court.
“The only issue for determination is whether Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government should be heard on their preliminary objection considering the totality of the circumstances of this case.
This suit was filed on 25 February 2015 and from the record of the court was served on Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government on 3rd July, 2015.
It took about 3 months for them to come up with technical response to the simple request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2011.
Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government have therefore been caught by Order 29 of the Rules of this Court, which requires that an application shall be made within 21 days after service on the Defendants of the originating summons.
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However Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and Goodluck Jonathan have since the receipt of the request letter failed, refused and or neglected to provide SERAP with the information it requested for within their custody.