Publish names of contractors given electricity contracts from 1999 – Court urges FG

A federal high court in Lagos has asked the federal government to publish the details of contractors who failed to execute power projects after receiving payment.

Kolawole Oluwadare, deputy director of Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), said Chuka Obiozor, a judge at the court, made the order.

He said the judge ordered the full details of the contractors who were awarded electricity projects and paid since the return to democracy in 1999.

In February, SERAP sued Babatunde Fashola, immediate former minister of power, works and housing, asking him to provide details of the names and whereabouts of the contractors as stipulated in a freedom of information (FOI) request to the ministry.

In May, Fashola gave the name of one of the contractors, but SERAP responded saying it needed details of names of other contractors that have collected public funds yet failed to execute power projects

According to a statement released by SERAP on Sunday, the judge ordered “the full disclosure and publication of the names of companies and the whereabouts of the contractors paid by successive governments since the return of democracy in 1999 to carry out electricity projects across the country but disappeared with the money without executing any projects.

“The details ordered by the court to be disclosed and published on a dedicated website and widely include information on ‘specific names and details about contractors and companies paid by each government; the total amounts paid by each government and the objects for the payments; the level of implementation of electricity projects; as well as details and specific locations of projects executed across the country by each government since 1999”.

“The failure by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to provide SERAP with the details of payments made to contractors by each government since 1999 is a breach of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.”

The judge was also quoted to have ordered the federal government to “urgently disclose if there is an ongoing investigation or prosecution of contractors and companies paid by successive governments since 1999 to carry out electricity projects but failed to execute the projects for which public funds were collected”.