The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the federal government to disclose within seven days, details of about $5 billion recovered from a former military Head of State, General Sani Abacha (rtd).
SERAP in a statement yesterday said that it had sent two Freedom of Information requests to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abukabar Malami, seeking the exact amount of public funds stolen and how much has been recovered since the return of democracy in 1999.
“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.
“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.
“Disclose within seven days of the receipt and/or publication of our Freedom of Information requests the exact amount of public funds stolen by a former military head of state, Sani Abacha and details of spending of about $5 billion recovered loot since the return of democracy in 1999.”
According to SERAP, failure by the federal government to provide the information requested will show signs of inconsistency and accountability to the general public.
“Any failure or refusal to provide the information requested will be clearly inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the FoI Act. The accountability of government to the general public is a hallmark of modern democratic governance, a norm of human rights and a tool to curb corruption.”
“SERAP is writing pursuant to the FoI Act to request you to use your good offices and leadership position to urgently disclose details of spending of about $5 billion recovered stolen public funds by a former military head of state, General Sani Abacha since the return of democracy in 1999, and the exact amount stolen by the late general.
“We also urge you to disclose information on specific projects carried out with the Abacha loot, locations of any such projects and details of companies and contractors involved in the execution of the projects, details of all the agreements on the Abacha loot, the roles played by the World Bank and other similar actors, as well as the implementation status of all projects executed with the funds since 1999.”