SERAP Rejects FG’s Response to Details of Spending on $5bn Abacha Loot

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has described the response of the federal government to its request on records of spendings and exact amount of public funds stolen by late military Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha as “insufficient.”

SERAP had accused federal government of having no records of the spending of about $5 billion recovered Abacha loot for the period between 1999 and 2015.

The government’s response followed SERAP’s Freedom of Information (FoI) requests sent to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abukabar Malami, (SAN), and Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, requesting: “information on the exact amount of public funds stolen by Abacha, and details of spending of about $5 billion recovered loot since the return of democracy in 1999.”

According to SERAP, in a statement dated 15 March 2020, by its Deputy Director, Mr. Kolawole Oluwadare, only Malami sent a reply to its FoI requests. In the reply dated 26 February 2020 but which SERAP said it received 9 March 2020, Malami said: “We have searched our records and the information on the exact amount of public funds stolen by Abacha and how recovered loot was spent from 1999–2015 is not held by the Ministry.

“However, a total of $322 million was recovered from Switzerland in January 2018 and the funds were used for Social Investment Project. Also, $308 million was recovered from the Island of Jersey in collaboration with the USA. While awaiting the transfer of the money to Nigeria, it has been designated for the following projects: