By Davidson Iriekpen
The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the immediate release of details of payments to all defaulting and electricity contractors and companies by the governments of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, former President Goodluck Jonathan, and the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The judgment was delivered last Friday by Justice Chuka Austine Obiozor following a Freedom of Information suit number FHC/L/CS/105/19 brought by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).
Justice Obiozor also ordered the full disclosure and publication of the names of companies and the whereabouts of the contractors paid by successive governments since the return of democracy in 1999 to carry out electricity projects across the country but disappeared with the money without executing any projects.
This development was disclosed yesterday in a statement by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare.
The details ordered by the court to be disclosed and published on a dedicated website and widely, include information on: “specific names and details about contractors and companies paid by each government, the total amounts paid by each government and the objects for the payments, the level of implementation of electricity projects, as well as details and specific locations of projects executed across the country by each government since 1999.”
The court also ruled in the suit brought against the federal government and the Ministry of Power, that the failure by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to provide SERAP with the details of payments made to contractors by each government since 1999 is a breach of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
It ordered the government of President Buhari to “urgently disclose if there is an ongoing investigation or prosecution of contractors and companies paid by successive governments since 1999 to carry out electricity projects but failed to execute the projects for which public funds were collected.”