$15m Accounts: Activists Seek Ex-First Lady’s Trial

 $15m Accounts: Activists Seek Ex-First Lady’s Trial

SERAP
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sued the Federal Government over the $15 million found in four accounts traced to former First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan.
It is asking the Federal High Court in Lagos for “leave to apply for judicial relief and to seek an order of Mandamus directing and or compelling the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN) to institute and undertake criminal proceedings” against Mrs Jonathan over the explained funds in the frozen accounts.
The rights’ group is also asking the court “for such order or other orders as the Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstance.”
The suit marked FHC/L/CS/1318/2016 and dated September 23, was filed on behalf of SERAP by Adetokunbo Mumuni. It is coming against the background of the request last week by Mrs Jonathan for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to defreeze her accounts and offer her a public apology within 14-days.
SERAP’s suit brought under Order 34, Rules 1 (1) (a); 2, Rule 3 (1) and (2) (a), (b) and (c) of the Federal High Court Rules, 2009 and Inherent Jurisdiction of the Court reads in part: “The Attorney-General of the Federation has a duty to prosecute intentional illicit enrichment, that is, a significant increase in the assets of a public official that he or she cannot reasonably explain in relation to his or her lawful income.
“By virtue of Section 174 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) the Attorney-General of the Federation is constitutionally empowered to institute and undertake criminal proceedings against any person in Nigeria in respect of any offence created by or under any Act of the National assembly in superior courts in Nigeria.
“The Attorney-General of the Federation has failed, neglected, and, or refused to institute and undertake criminal proceedings against Mrs. Jonathan over $15 million unexplained wealth frozen in her accounts.
“Obedience to the rule of law by all citizens but more particularly those who publicly took oath of office to protect and preserve the constitution is a desideratum to good governance and respect for the rule of law. In a democratic society, this is meant to be a norm; it is an apostasy for government to ignore the provisions of the law and the necessary rules made to regulate matters.
“Mrs. Jonathan is a politically exposed person under anti-corruption standards. She is also covered under the definition of ‘public officials’ contained in the United Nations (UN) Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party. Under Article 2 of the convention, public officials include Mrs. Jonathan or any other family members of the former President Goodluck Jonathan who exercised official duties while he was president.”
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

LTV

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