Court Releases Looters List

The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Apo, Abuja, has declared that the Federal Government’s alleged looters’ list released by the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed in March this year, does not in any way infringe on the rights of those whose names were listed.

Justice Olukayode Adeniyi gave the ruling this morning in a suit filed by Raymond Dokpesi, chairman of the African Independent Television and Ray Power Radio, in which he prayed the court to declare the looters’ list as void.
Justice Olukayode Adeniyi held that the suit lacked merit. According to him, the disclosure of the alleged looters’ list does not carry any force of law as the minister is neither the judge or the prosecutor in the criminal case pending before the Federal High Court against Dokpesi.

The presiding judge held that if Dokpesi is aggrieved by the enlisting of his name in the list released, he should seek remedy via a libel/slander suit. In the meantime, the court adjourned the libel suit filed against Lai Mohammed by Dokpesi to November 9th.

The Federal Government yesterday reacted to calls to withdraw the alleged looters’ list because of its arbitrariness by releasing a new list of alleged looters of the treasury and clarifying that the list of alleged looters which it released earlier was based on verifiable facts, including the amount involved, the date the amount in question that was collected and from where it was taken.

Releasing a fresh list of alleged looters, in a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, also said those complaining that the list was too short apparently did not understand that it was strategically released as a teaser.

The latest development was however provoked by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) which urged the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to “immediately withdraw the clumsy, arbitrary and selective looters’ list, released last week, as the list would seem to serve a political objective or carry out political agenda.

The organization said: “This kind of action can only diminish the government’s ability to fight corruption, frustrate its oft-expressed goal of a transparent governance, allow suspected perpetrators—whether from the All Progressives Congress (APC) or the Peoplesâ Democratic Party (PDP)–to escape justice, and ultimately, deny victims of corruption justice and effective remedies.

In Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, the Pioneer Chairman of Independent Corrupt Practice and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) Justice Mustapha Akanbi(rtd) has charged federal government to as a matter of priority release the name of anybody that has looted the government treasury irrespective of party affiliation.

Justice Akanbi said the naming of corrupt Nigerians must cut across all political parties in order to give credibility to President Muhammadu Buhari led administration’s efforts in fighting corruption.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed had on Friday released a list of some of those who have allegedly looted the nation’s treasury.

The names in the list revealed were mostly PDP chieftains who are currently being tried for corruption and financial crimes.

Addressing the media in Lagos yesterday, Mohammed clarified that ”At the press conference where the list was released, I did say it was a tip of the iceberg. Apparently, this does not mean anything to  people whose style is to comment on issues they barely understand, or just to shoot down anything coming from the government,” he said, adding that the Federal Government has a large number of alleged looters on its list.


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