As Nigerians continue to witness relapse in electricity supply, running to as low as 3,000 megawatts against the required 40,000 megawatts, the Federal High Court, Lagos has ordered the release of details of payments to runaway electricity contractors.
The landmark judgment also came at a time that President Muhammadu Buhari had questioned the whereabouts of the $16 billion supposed released by past administrations to boost electricity generation, supply and distribution.
The court ordered the immediate release of details of payments to all defaulting and allegedly corrupt electricity contractors and companies by the governments of former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan, and the current government.
The judgment was delivered on Friday (July 5, 2019) 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).
In the copy of the judgment released on the SERAP website on July 7, 2019, 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”.
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 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.”
Further, the court 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.”