Monday, 5 January 2015

Okonjo-Iweala sued over refusal to reveal salaries of political office-holders

Minister of Finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been dragged before the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, over her alleged refusal to grant access to details of salaries and emoluments that political office holders receive from the federal budget per annum.A non-governmental organisation, Centre for Social Justice, through its lawyer, Mr. Nnajiaka Kingsley, is praying the court to issue an order of mandamus, compelling the minister to disclose the details of salaries and emoluments of civil servants as distinct from that of political office holder.According to Vanguard, the plaintiff,  further prayed the court to declare that the action of the Minister in denying it access to the information, by ignoring an application that was made to her since February 3, 2014, without explanation as to why such details could not be made public, amounted to an infringement of the applicant’s right guaranteed and protected by section 1(1) of the FOI Act, 2011.

Consequently, it urged the court to award N500, 000 as damages against the Finance Minister over her continued refusal to disclose the information sought from her office.

The plaintiff contended that section 48(1) of the Fiscal Responsibility Act stipulated that the Federal Government should ensure that its fiscal and financial affairs are conducted in a transparent manner and accordingly, ensure full and timely disclosure and wide publication of all transactions and decisions involving revenues, expenditures and their implications for its finances.

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