A federal high court in Abuja has fixed February 13, 2018 for the hearing of a lawsuit filed against the attorney general of the federation (AGF) by the Cable Newspaper Journalism Foundation (CNJF).
The case has been assigned Gabriel Kolawole, a judge of the federal high court.
The foundation had sued the AGF over his failure to respond to a freedom of information request (FoI) on the engagement of lawyers for the recovery of funds stolen by Sani Abacha, the late military ruler.
The case, with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/27/2018, was filed by Kusamotu & Kusamotu law chambers on January 10, 2018.
The foundation, through its counsel, is seeking an order of mandamus compelling the AGF to make available the information and documents requested from its office pursuant to the FoI Act, 2011.
“The applicant (CNJF) is entitled to the right to be granted access to public records and documents in the custody of or possession of any public official, agency or institution,” Kusamotu & Kusamotu had stated in the application filed at the court.
The AGF’s office acknowledged receipt of the FoI request on December 8, 2017. The request was also made via the FoI portal on the website of the ministry of justice, and it was electronically acknowledged. The acknowledgments have been, respectively, marked “Exhibit B” and Exhibit C” in the court papers.
Amongst other things, CNJF sought to know the reason behind the engagement of another set of lawyers to do a job that had already been completed by Erico Mofrini, a Swiss lawyer engaged by the federal government of Nigeria since 2000, for which he was paid $7.5 million.
Mofrini had, earlier, told TheCable that there has been no breach in agreement since the federal government of Nigeria engaged him to do the job.
“Upon the election of President Buhari, the newly appointed minister of justice, Abubakar Malami, appeared to prefer using the services of other lawyers in Nigeria and elsewhere,” Monfrini had explained.
Oladipo Okpeseyi, a senior advocate, and Temitope Issac Adebayo, are the lawyers engaged in 2016 by Malami to apparently duplicate the job of the Swiss lawyer and get their own cut from the already done deal.
Both were lawyers to the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), a party founded by President Muhammadu Buhari.