BENIN CITY…Following the Federal Ministry of Justice refusal to make information requested by the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, available on the ongoing repatriation of $380million loot from Switzerland, and the repatriated $277million from the government of Liechtenstein in 2015, together with the position of the repatriation of $500million, there will be no option but to drag the Federal Ministry of Justice, FMJ, to court if within 7 days, the FMJ does not comply with the ANEEJ request.
In a letter dated 26th March and signed by Mrs Stella Anukum, a deputy director and head of the Freedom of Information Unit on behalf of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the Federal Ministry of Justice in a reply to a letter from ANEEJ said that ‘it was the considered opinion that the Federal Ministry of Finance has greater interest in the information and is the appropriate Ministry to Supply the information requested’.
‘This is not a question of who has greater interest in the information but on who brokered the deal. ANEEJ is interested in the final details of the deal of the Federal government of Nigeria with the World Bank and the Abacha family concerning the repatriated loot. We believe that the Justice Minister had a great input in the deal and we will take the necessary steps soon to compel the Attorney General to divulge the information that Nigerians need’, ANEEJ Executive Director David Ugolor said.
“We are aware that there is no way repatriation agreements would be entered into with the Federal Government of Nigeria, particularly on the strength of Mutual Legal Assistance as provided for by UNCAC without the involvement of the office of the Federal Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation in the preparation and signing of such bilateral legal agreements.
This is why we are surprised that instead of availing us with the information requested as provided for by the FOI Act (2011), the Federal Ministry of Justice is passing the buck to the Finance Ministry.
We, therefore demand the release of such information within the timeframe allowed by law or face legal action.
ANEEJ had condemned the secrecy behind the deals between the Federal government of Nigeria, the Swiss government and the World Bank plans to repatriate public funds looted by the late Sani Abacha and hidden in several banks overseas.
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