Failed CCTV Project: Court orders Buhari Govt to account for $460m loan

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to “account for the spending of $460 million Chinese loan to fund the failed Abuja Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) project.” The court also ordered the government to “publish the total amount of money paid to Chinese and local companies and contractors, specific details and the implementation of the project.”

Hon. Justice Emeka Nwite made the orders while delivering judgment in a Freedom of Information suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/1447/2019 brought by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP). This was contained in a statement on Sunday by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) signed by its deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare.

According to the statement, the suit followed the disclosure in 2019 by the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed that “Nigeria was servicing the loan,” adding that she had ‘no explanations on the status of the project.’ She reportedly said, “We are servicing the loan. I have no information on the status of the CCTV project.” In his judgment, Justice Nwite agreed with SERAP that “there is a reasonable cause of action against the government. Accounting for the spending of the $460 million Chinese loan is in the interest of the public. It will be inimical for the court to refuse SERAP’s application for judicial review of the government’s action.

Justice Nwite also said that, “The Minister of Finance is in charge of the finance of the country and cannot by any stretch of imagination be oblivious of the amount of money paid to the contractors for the Abuja CCTV contract and the money meant for the construction of the headquarters of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB). Justice Nwite also ordered the government “to provide the details clarifying whether the sum of N1.5 billion Naira paid for the failed contract meant to construct the headquarters of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) was part of another loan obtained from China.”

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