President Muhammadu Buhari must account for the spending of $460 million Chinese loan to fund the failed Abuja Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) project, a Federal High Court in Abuja ordered last week.
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The government must also publish the total amount of money paid to Chinese and local companies and contractors and specific details of the names of the companies and contractors and status of the implementation of the project, Hon. Justice Emeka Nwite ordered last week, while delivering judgment in a Freedom of Information suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/1447/2019 brought by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).
The suit followed the disclosure in 2019, by the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, that Nigeria was servicing the loan, adding that she had, “no explanations on the status of the project,” Thisday reported.
She reportedly said, “We are servicing the loan. I have no information on the status of the CCTV project.”
However, in his judgment, Justice Nwite agreed with SERAP that, “there is a reasonable cause of action against the government. Accounting for the spending of the $460 million Chinese loan is in the interest of the public. It will be inimical for the court to refuse SERAP’s application for judicial review of the government’s action.”
Justice Nwite also said that, “The Minister of Finance is in charge of the finance of the country and cannot by any stretch of imagination be oblivious of the amount of money paid to the contractors for the Abuja CCTV contract and the money meant for the construction of the headquarters of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).”