If this new fact from World Bank is anything to go by then information on how successive governmenst spent the recovered loots of the late General Sani Abacha has emerged.
It was revealed that the Abacha’s loots that was received from Switzerland to the tune of $500 million (N65 billion) was factored in into 2004 and 2005 budgets and the funds were said to have been spent on education, roads, electricity, health sector and water across the six geo-political zone.
According to 700-page information released by World Bank to Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) this explanation on how the loot was being spent was made known in a letter written by erstwhile minister of finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in a letter dated January 9, 2015 to the World Bank.
Making this revelation public, SERAP executive director Adetokunbo Mumuni in a statement issued on Sunday, November 29.
The organization said: “SERAP can confirm that last week we received several documents from Ann May of the Access to Information Team of the World Bank following our Access to Information Request to the Bank. We also received a letter dated 24 November 2015 from Mr Rachid Benmessaoud, Director of the World Bank in Africa.”
“In total, SERAP has received over 700 pages of documents, which we are now closely studying and scrutinizing with a view to discovering whether the documents contain details that Nigerians would like to see and whether the information corresponds to the facts on the ground. After this analysis, we will respond to the Bank and consider our options, including filing an appeal before the Bank’s Access to Information Appeals Board and taking other appropriate legal actions nationally and internationally to discover what exactly happened to Abacha recovered loot.”
Detailing how the how Iweala spent the Abacha’s loot, the SERAP said: “Mrs Iweala explained to the Bank that N18.60bn was spent on roads; N10.83bn spent on health; N7bn spent on education; N6.20bn spent on water; and N21.70bn spent on electricity. She also said that part of the funds was spent on new and ongoing investment projects. Mrs Iweala said that relevant federal ministries have the full details on the spending of repatriated Abacha loot. The Bank noted that there was no funds monitoring and tracking mechanism in place to trace the spending of Abacha loot”
The organization wondered how such huge fund could be spent on those projects listed by the former minister with no correspond evidence on ground to show that such fund was being expended. Base on this, SERAP called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take urge action to probe Iweala’s handling of the recovered fund.
“Given Mrs Okonjo-Iweala’s involvement in the spending of Abacha loot, SERAP calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently probe the role of the Ministry of Finance and relevant federal ministries at the time in the spending of Abacha loot particularly given the strong allegations of mismanagement that characterised the use of the funds.
“Although Mrs Okonjo-Iweala said that Abacha loot was spent in the 2004 and 2005 budgets on roads, electricity, education, water and health across all 6 geo-political zones of Nigeria, there is no evidence of such projects as millions of Nigerians continue to travel on dead roads, while they continue to lack access to adequate electricity supply, water, health and quality education.Therefore, President Buhari can no longer continue to remain silent on this issue of public interest if Nigerians are to continue to trust him in his fight against corruption,” SERAP stated.