$15m account: Initiate criminal charges against Patience Jonathan, SERAP tells FG

For failing to initiate criminal proceedings against the wife of the former President, Patience Jonathan, a Rights group, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has sued the Federal Government.

According to the Executive Director of SERAP, Adetokunbi Mumuni, the group has resorted to suing the FG after its request for Patience’s prosecution was ignored by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).

In the suit marked, FHC/L/CS/1318/2016, SERAP is seeking an order of mandamus, compelling the AGF to immediately file a criminal charge against Patience for what the group termed illicit enrichment.

In a statement on Sunday, SERAP argued that the AGF was bound by Section 174 of the Constitution to prosecute anyone found to have contravened any law enacted by the National Assembly.

It stressed that the failure of the AGF to prosecute Patience was at variance with the rule of law binding on all citizens.

“The Attorney General of the Federation has failed, neglected and or refused to institute and undertake criminal proceedings against Dame Patience Jonathan over the $15 million unexplained wealth frozen in her accounts.

“Obedience to the rule of law by all citizens, but more particularly those who publicly took oath of office to protect and preserve the constitution, is a desideratum to good governance and respect for the rule of law. In a democratic society, this is meant to be the norm; it is an apostasy for government to ignore the provisions of the law and the necessary rules made to regulate matters.

“Mrs Jonathan is a politically-exposed person under anti-corruption standards. She is also covered under the definition of ‘public officials’ contained in the UN Convention against Corruption, to which Nigeria is a state party. Under Article 2 of the convention, public officials include Mrs Jonathan or any other family members of former President Goodluck Jonathan, who exercised official duties while he was President,” the statement reads.

SERAP is urging the court to declare that Malami’s refusal to file a criminal charge against Patience was in conflict with his constitutional mandate as well as the provisions of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.