Barristers & Solicitors
Alleged graft: Hearing in case against ministry, AG-F, others, to hold Dec. 1
Zainab Ahmed

The National Industrial Court (NIC) has scheduled hearing for December 7 in a suit filed against the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning over alleged corrupt practices in the Budget Office of the Federation.

 Justice Oyebola Oyewumi chose the date yesterday after directing parties to file all necessary documents, including the defendants’ responses, preparatory to the hearing.

 The judge held that the memorandum of appearance filed by the fourth defendant (the Attorney General of the Federation) was defective for not having the required stamp.

 The suit was filed by a senior official of the Budget Office of the Federation, Mrs. Bilkisu Sannusi, who alleged abuse of governmental powers by her superiors who were said to have withheld her salaries and entitlement for exposing alleged corrupt practices perpetrated in the Budget Office of the Federation.

 Listed as defendants in the suit are: The Head of Service of the Federation; the Director General of the Budget Office of the Federation; the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning; the Attorney General of the Federation; and the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF).

 Mrs. Sannusi claimed in a court document that she discovered monumental corrupt practices by some workers of the Ministry of Finance (third defendant) in the Office of the Director General of the Budget Office of the Federation (second defendant).

 The claimant said she reported the alleged corrupt practices on the manipulation of budget proposals by Federal Government’s ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to the her immediate boss (the Director General of the Budget Office), who she claimed to have later found to be complicit in the alleged corrupt practices.

 She claimed to have later reported her discovery to the Head of Service of the Federation (first defendant) and the Ministry of Finance (third defendant), who allegedly failed to take action, like the second defendant.

 Mrs. Sannusi added that the issue led to the removal of her name from payment vouchers and other efforts to frustrate her.

 The claimant alleged that the second defendants, without any justification, “caused my Secret and Open Files, domiciled in the Budget Office of the Federation’s Registry to be removed and kept in an unknown place to frustrate me from proceeding on retirement”.

The claimant also alleged that the second defendant, in a bid to frustrate her, also instructed his allies in the Finance Department to withhold and deny her due financial and maternal benefits and rights incidental to her employment and office in the Budget Office of the Federation. 

She claimed, among others, that “the termination of the claimant’s salaries and entitlements prior and from November 26, 2021 till date by the first, second third and fifth defendant is illegal, unlawful and a gross abuse of governmental powers, as such null and void and of no effect”.

Mrs. Sannusi is also seeking an order of court “compelling the defendants to pay the claimant all her salaries, entitlements, fringe benefits, bonuses and all benefits, however called, incidental to her position as a worker of the Budget Office of the Federation withheld by the defendants illegally and unlawfully amounting to N2,214,250 only”.

 The claimant prayed the court to issue an order compelling the second defendant to forthwith release her Secret and Open File to enable her proceed with the processing of her retirement.

 She also claimed that “the sum of N50 million only as exemplary damages in favour of the claimant against the defendants, the later having acted in bad faith”.