17 Firms Jostle to Monitor Utilisation of $312m Abacha Loot

Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami

Alex Enumah in Abuja

The federal government has said no fewer than 17 organisations have indicated an interest in monitoring the spending of nearly $312million repatriated Abacha loot.

Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), had confirmed the receipt of $311,797,866.11 of the Abacha assets repatriated from the United States and the Bailiwick of Jersey.

He had in a statement said the funds would be expended on projects such as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Abuja-Kano Road and the Second Niger Bridge.

However, in its bid to ensure transparency and probity in the utilisation of the recovered fund, the federal government yesterday opened bids for consultancy service to monitor the implementation of Abacha loots.

The consultancy service is to undertake the monitoring of the implementation of the tripartite agreement on the sharing, transfer, disposition, repatriation and management of the Abacha 111 forfeited assets.

Some of the firms include: Triump Oil and Gas Limited, International Action Centre, GPM Associate; Phenai Penal Consult Limited/ Africa in Foundation Infrastructure, Cleen Foundation, and Olotu Lekan F. & Co.

Others are Anti-Corruption and Research Base Data Initiative, Public and Private Development Centre, Arewa Community and Social Development Network in Nigeria, Quadrante, IBLF Global, PPP Advisories Consortium, Restitution Impact limited and Urban Projects Prospect Integrated Services Limited.

The rest are: Centre for Social Justice, Foundation for Public-Private Partnerships, Nigeria and Global Society for Anti-Corruption.

Speaking in Abuja yesterday at the bid opening event, the Head, Asset Recovery and Management Unit, Ministry of Justice, Mrs Ladidi Mohammed, said the process was in tandem with the Asset Return Agreement of February 3 by the Nigerian government, US and the Bailiwick of Jersey.

Mohammed stated that the aim of the bid was to select a civil society organisation monitoring team to oversee the implementation of the projects and report regularly on progress made to the public.

“This agreement is based on international law and cooperation measures that set out the procedures for the repatriation, transfer, disposition and management of the assets,” she said.

Mohammed reiterated the determination of the federal government to expedite the construction of the three major infrastructure projects that Nigeria agreed to spend the recovered cash on.

The projects, according to her, are “the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Abuja-Kano Road and the Second Niger Bridge”.

Also speaking at the opening, a representative of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Nasiru Bello, noted that 17 organisations submitted entries for the technical bid.

He added that the bids will be handed over to the Evaluation Committee to ensure that due processes are followed.

“The Due Process Mechanism is to establish and sustain an open transparent and competitive procurement system that is integrity driven,” he said.