Adeosun’s certificate scandal;SERAP gives NYSC seven days to respond

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked Mr Kazaure “to provide information and documents on whether Mrs Adeosun applied for NYSC Exemption Certificate, and if she did, to clarify whether the NYSC actually granted her the Exemption Certificate, the circumstances and the provisions of the NYSC Act under which the Exemption Certificate was granted”.

(SERAP) also sent a Freedom of Information request to Sule Kazaure, Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) asking him to “urgently provide information on specific details and documents on the Exemption Certificate granted to the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun”.

The organization said it “needs the information to determine if the crime of forgery has been committed, and if so, to consider possible action in the circumstances, including but not limited to asking the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr Abubakar Malami SAN to pursue prosecution or in the absence of that, for us to consider the option of a private prosecution.”

In the FOI request dated 2 August 2018 and signed by SERAP deputy director Timothy Adewale, the organization said, “By providing information and documents on the Exemption Certificate, the NYSC would help put an end to any insinuation of complicity and show that the institution can embrace transparency and accountability in the discharge of its statutory mandates.

This would in turn contribute to improved integrity and public image of the NYSC.” According to the organization, “Mrs Adeosun remains innocent until the allegations against her are properly tested and proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of competent jurisdiction based on relevant admissible evidence. But the continuing silence by the NYSC management on the matter may create an impression that an offence may have been committed, and lead to accusation that the management has something to hide.”

in a statement signed by Timothy Adewale, deputy director and released on Thursday reads in part:

“In the FOI request dated 2 August 2018 and signed by SERAP deputy director Timothy Adewale, the organization said, “By providing information and documents on the Exemption Certificate, the NYSC would help put an end to any insinuation of complicity and show that the institution can embrace transparency and accountability in the discharge of its statutory mandates. This would in turn contribute to improved integrity and public image of the NYSC.”

“According to the organisation, “Mrs Adeosun remains innocent until the allegations against her are properly tested and proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of competent jurisdiction based on relevant admissible evidence. But the continuing silence by the NYSC management on the matter may create an impression that an offence may have been committed, and lead to accusation that the management has something to hide.”

“The letter read in part: “We urge you and the entire NYSC management and leadership to open-up on the matter and provide information and documents as requested. This will be one step in the right direction. If the information is not provided to us within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions under the Freedom of Information Act to compel you to comply with our request.”

“SERAP is concerned about the perceived lack of transparency and accountability of the NYSC management and leadership in this matter, which has seriously undermined public trust and confidence in the NYSC as a public institution established to serve the public interests.”

“By Section 4 (a) of the FOI Act when a person makes a request for information from a public official, institution or agency, the public official, institution or urgency to whom the application is directed is under a binding legal obligation to provide the applicant with the information requested for, except as otherwise provided by the Act, within 7 days after the application is received.”

“By Sections 2(3)(d)(V) & (4) of the FOI Act, there is a binding legal duty to ensure that documents containing information relating to the granting of any NYSC Exemption Certificate are widely disseminated and made readily available to members of the public through various means. The information being requested does not come within the purview of the types of information exempted from disclosure by the provisions of the FOI Act. The information requested for bothers on an issue of national interest, public concern, good governance, transparency and accountability.”

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