The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) at the weekend revealed that the organization has filed a legal suit against the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon, Femi Gbajabiamila, for “their failure to probe, and to refer to appropriate anti-corruption agencies, fresh allegations that N4.1 billion of public money budgeted for the National Assembly is missing, misappropriated or stolen.”
The suit was filed after the publication of the annual audited report for 2016 in which the Auditor-General of the Federation decried alleged diversion and misappropriation of public funds, demanding the recovery of any missing funds.
SERAP in the suit filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, by its lawyers -Kolawole Oluwadare and Kehinde Oyewumi – is seeking: “an order of mandamus to direct and compel Senate President Lawan and Speaker Gbajabiamila to perform their constitutional oversight functions to promptly probe the allegations that fresh N4.1 billion budgeted for the National Assembly may be missing.”
SERAP in the suit argued: “The National Assembly has 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.
“Transparency and accountability in the management of public resources and wealth are essential for promoting development, people’s welfare and well-being, and their access to basic public services, as well as good governance and the rule of law.
“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.
“The National Assembly has no legally justifiable reason to refuse to investigate the allegations documented by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation.”
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.