The Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government has been given a seven-day ultimatum to disclose the exact amount of public funds stolen by former military head of state, General Sani Abacha and details of spending of about $5 billion recovered loot since the return of democracy in 1999.
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) made the request, in line with the Freedom of Information Act. It said the ultimatum begins to count from the date of receipt of its letter to the government.
SERAP is also asking the Federal Government to “disclose details of projects executed with the Abacha loot and their locations, details of companies and contractors involved in the execution of any such projects, details of all the agreements on the loot, the roles played by the World Bank and other actors, as well as the implementation status of all projects since 1999.”
In two Freedom of Information requests sent to Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning and Mr Abukabar Malami, SAN, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, SERAP said: “We are concerned that substantial part of the estimated $5 billion returned Abacha loot since 1999 may have been diverted, re-stolen or mismanaged, and in any case remain unaccounted for.”
In the FoI requests dated 14 February 2020 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “Publishing the details of projects on which Abacha loot has been spent would allow the public to know the specific projects carried and the areas of the country in which the projects have been implemented as well as the officials that may be responsible for any alleged diversion or mismanagement of the loot.”
According to SERAP: “Getting to the root of the exact amount of the Abacha loot and how the returned funds have been spent is important for the success of the government’s fight against grand corruption and would reassure Nigerians that the government is truly committed to ensuring full accountability for the alleged corruption and mismanagement in the spending of the funds.”
“The report by the panel shows that the government recovered some $635 million, £75 million, DM 30 million and N9 billion as well as several vehicles and properties in Abuja, Lagos and Kano together with 40% interests in West African Refinery in Sierra Leone. Other assets were recovered from the Abacha family and associates.”
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