- A foundation has demanded information of a legal fee payment made to two lawyers over Abacha's loot
- The Cable Newspaper Foundation said its request for the information on the payment was premised on the Freedom of Information Act
- According to the foundation, it has also filed a suit in court seeking an order of mandamus on the matter
A newspaper foundation has written to the minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun, to demand information on the $16.9 million (N7 billion) allegedly paid as legal fee to two Nigerian lawyers for services rendered on the recovery of $321 million Abacha loot from Luxembourg.
In a statement on Thursday, August 23, the Cable Newspaper Foundation said the request for the information on the payment was anchored on the Freedom of Information Act.
A statement by the programme officer of the foundation, Abiose Adams, said the it would like to know the circumstances under which the attorney general of the federation, Abubakar Malami, engaged the two Nigerian lawyers - Oladipo Okpeseyi and Temitope Isaac Adebayo - and paid them about N7 billion, for a job believed to have already been done and finalised by a Swiss lawyer, Enrico Monfrini.
The foundation said it is worrisome that the AGF would hire two lawyers to do a job which was already completed by the Swiss government.
It also said it had already filed a suit in court seeking an order of mandamus to compel Malami to avail it copies of the agreements signed by the federal government and Monfrini.
The foundation in its FoI request to the minister and the AGF called for, “a breakdown of the amount approved and released for the Nigerian lawyers between the time they were appointed and today; as well as records showing payment timeline for the services of the Swiss lawyer.
“This request is in line with Sections 2(3) and (4) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, which require all ‘information relating to the receipt or expenditure of public or other funds of the institution’ to be ‘widely disseminated and more readily available’.
“We are trying to help President Muhammadu Buhari in his war against corruption,” the FoI said.
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com previously reported that the Adeosun and the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, had affirmed that Nigeria's positive growth outlook would be sustained.
The minister and the CBN governor gave this assurance at a joint press briefing at the end of the 2018 International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Spring Meeting in Washington DC, United States.
Adeosun said the present growth outlook contrasted with the outlook in 2015, and that inflation rate was slowing down while the foreign reserves were rising.
How should convicted looters be punished? - on NAIJ.com TV