SERAP Drags Lawan, Gbajabiamila To Court Over ‘Failure To Publish Reports Of All Completed Public Hearings, Corruption Probes Since 1999’
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has filed a suit against Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila “over their failure to publish reports of all completed public hearings & corruption probes by @nassnigeria since 1999.”
SERAP, in the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1065/2020 filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, is seeking an order of mandamus to compel Lawal and Gbajabiamila to release the findings.
The organization is also seeking an order for the disclosure of the number and names of individuals, companies and MDAs indicted since 1999.
SERAP’s lawyers, Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi, says the rights group wants an order 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.
No date has been fixed for the suit hearing.
The rights group said there is no legally justifiable reason why the information should not be made available to Nigerians, and why the prosecution of indicted suspects should not be pursued where there is admissible evidence.
The suit noted that, “Public officers are mere custodians of public records. There is legitimate public interest in the publication of the reports of these public hearings and probes. The public hearings and probes can only serve as effective mechanisms to prevent and combat corruption if their reports are widely published.
“The exercise of oversight functions and powers by the National Assembly to conduct public hearings and corruption probes in MDAs should be regarded as a public trust.”
“The National Assembly has a unique opportunity to enhance the integrity of its oversight functions on corruption matters in particular, and other constitutional roles, in general.”