SERAP Drags Tinubu to Court Over Missing $3.4bn IMF Loan

March 3, 2024
SERAP Tinubu

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against President Bola Tinubu after he refused to probe allegations of a missing $3.4 billion loan obtained by Nigeria from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to finance the budget and respond to COVID-19.

SERAP in a statement signed by its deputy director, Mr Kolawole Oluwadare, on Sunday, said the allegations are contained in the recently published 2020 Nigeria’s annual audited report by the Auditor-General of the Federation.

In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/269/2024 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court, Abuja, SERAP appealed to the court “to direct and compel President Tinubu to probe the allegations that $3.4 billion loan obtained by Nigeria from the IMF to finance the budget and respond to COVID-19 is missing, diverted or unaccounted for.”

The group also begged the court for “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Tinubu to ensure the effective prosecution of anyone suspected to be responsible for the alleged mismanagement and diversion of the $3.4 billion IMF loan obtained by Nigeria to finance the budget and respond to the COVID- 19 pandemic.”

It further said the President should be compelled to “ensure the full recovery of the missing $3.4 billion IMF loan obtained by Nigeria to finance the budget and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

SERAP argued that, “The findings by the Auditor-General suggest a grave violation of the public trust, the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], national anticorruption laws, and the country’s obligations under the UN Convention against Corruption.”

“Servicing IMF loan that is allegedly missing, diverted or unaccounted for is double jeopardy for Nigerians—they can neither see nor benefit from the projects for which the loan was approved; yet, they are made to pay back both the loan and accrued interests.

“Unless the President is directed and compelled to get to the bottom of these damning revelations, suspected perpetrators would continue to enjoy impunity for their crimes and enjoy the fruits of their crimes,” the organisation noted in the suit filed by its lawyers, Mr Kolawole Oluwadare and Mr Andrew Nwankwo.

SERAP explained that it dragged the President before the high court because “Impunity for corruption in the management of loans obtained by Nigeria will continue as long as high-ranking public officials go largely unpunished for their alleged crimes.”

“The consequences of corruption are felt by citizens on a daily basis. Corruption exposes them to additional costs to pay for health, education and administrative services.

“The Nigerian government has a sacred duty to ensure that the country’s loans including those obtained from the IMF are transparently and accountably used solely for the purposes for which the loans are obtained, and for the effective development of public goods and services as well as the general public interests,” it added.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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