House of Representatives in session

Former presidents, Adeosun, others to be questioned 

By James Emejo in Abuja

The House of Representatives has constituted an 11-member ad-hoc committee chaired by Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin (APC, Kano)  to investigate the total amount recovered from the infamous Sani Abacha loot by the federal government from 1998 to date, THISDAY has learnt.

It was gathered that the committee was saddled with the responsibility of ascertaining the sources and utilisation of the loot, so that  the issue, which had generated a lot of controversy in recent times, could be laid to rest by the lower chamber.

According to the spokesman of the House, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas, the committee would determine, among other things, the amount spent from the loot on specific projects and the balance to be spent.

THISDAY also gathered that the investigative sitting, which would begin this week would have former presidents interviewed in their residences on the recovery of the loot by their respective administrations.

Also to be invited are key government officials from the office of the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), and the Minister of Finance,  Mrs.  Kemi Adeosun.

The House had earlier passed a resolution to set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the matter, following a motion moved under matters of urgent public importance by Hon. Sunday Karimi (PDP, Kogi) on the urgent need to stop the federal executive from expending the last tranche of the Abacha loot or any recovered loot at all without parliamentary approval. 

The lawmakers had sought to establish the sources of the monies; payments to lawyers, if any, and whether procedures were followed in the negotiation process for the release of the loot as well as to establish if the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the federal government and foreign countries on the repatriation was in line with constitutional provision and if recovered funds had been utilised for the benefits of the common man.

Karimi’s motion originally requested that the sum of $322 million to be released by the Switzerland Government be paid to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) and distributed to the federating units in line with the current revenue sharing formula.

The motion further urged the federal government to come up with a supplementary appropriation bill, earmarking the funds due to it from the loot for the completion of the Ajaokuta Stell Complex, and the federal government to immediately present to the National Assembly, the total money released from the recovered loot and how they were spent.