Court Asks FG To Make Power Sector Spending Public — Leadership Newspaper
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Court Asks FG To Make Power Sector Spending Public

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The Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday granted Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) leave to apply for an order of mandamus to compel the minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN) to account for the spending in the power sector. The leave was granted by Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke following an application filed by SERAP seeking to compel Fashola to account for the spending on the privatisation of the electricity sector and the exact amount of post-privatisation spending on generation companies (GENCOS), distribution companies (DISCOS) and Transmission Company of Nigeria to date, and to explain if such spending came from budgetary allocations or other sources.  The civil society organisations had on May 7 this year send a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Minister, giving him 14 days to provide “information on the status of implementation of the 25-year national energy development plan.”

SERAP had also in the FOI request demanded information on whether the Code of Ethics of the privatisation process which bars staff of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and members of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) from buying shares in companies being privatised were deliberately flouted. However, in June after the minister refused to respond to the request, SERAP approached the court to seek the leave of the court to force Fashola to provide the information and also to publish widely including on a dedicated website the information. The organisation is further seeking a declaration that the failure of the Respondent to furnish the Applicant with information on the details of spending on and status of implementation of the twenty-five (25) year national energy development plan is unlawful as it contradicts and is in conflict with the obligations of the Respondent under the Freedom of Information Act 2011.

It is also asking the court for an order of mandamus directing and/or compelling the Respondent to clarify the degree of compliance with the Code of Ethics of the privatisation process which bars staff of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and members of the National Council on Privatization (NCP) from buying shares in companies being privatised. Justice Aneke granted the order for leave yesterday after listening to argument in court on exparte motion by SERAP counsel, Ms Bamisope Adeyanju. The court also ruled that Fashola be put on notice and adjourned the matter to November 20 for mention. In the affidavit attached to the application, SERAP stated that, “Most of the companies that won the bids had no prior experience in the power sector and little or no capacity at all to manage the sector.”



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