Groups allege re-looting of recovered Abacha’s loot, suggest recommendations

A coalition of civil society organisations in Nigeria on Wednesday raised the alarm over mismanagement in the utilisation of the recovered N505million General Sani Abacha loot and other public funds, saying there seemed to be re-looting of recovered public funds.

The coalition includes, Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), Journalists for Democratic Rights (JODER), Value and Integrity Group (VIP) and PLAYYA.

The coalition, which addressed a joint press conference in Lagos through their leaders, namely Comrade Olanrewaju Suraju (CSNAC), Sulaimon Arigbabu (HEDA), Wale Adeoye (JODER), ‘Sina Odugbemi (VIP) and Eze Alloysius, expressed worry that some recovered looted public funds had not been properly utilised by past governments, just as it accused some government officials of re-looting the recovered funds.

“Our team conducted on the spot assessment of these projects that dot the five geo-political zones of Nigeria. This assessment was informed by the independent shadow report prepared by ANEEJ on the platform of Nigerian Network on Stolen Asset, which indicted the World Bank of connivance and conspiracy in its report on the execution of the projects, and World Bank’s inability to grant FoI request of SERAP for details of the bank’s monitoring exercise on the utilization of the looted funds.

“The method involved an on-the-spot visit to the sites and inspection of the facilities, talking to contractors and locals; in some instances, confidential information was obtained from inside government sources on the project execution strategy,” the coalition said.

The coalition said it arrived at the conclusion having taken stock of the said funds especially those recovered from the late Abacha.

“How was the $505 million spent? Were the projects implemented and what were the gains, losses, and shortcomings? Were the objectives enunciated in the implementation strategy achieved? The coalition queried.

The coalition, while delivering its recommendations, urged that henceforth, there should be due process in the award of contracts by the concerned authorities, including the Federal and state governments, saying companies to be given the jobs must be properly scrutinised.

“This should involve competence of the company; the contractor should provide striking examples of similar projects executed by the company.

“The authority should involve Non-Governmental organisations, who should be mandated to work with the relevant authorities in ensuring project monitoring.

“The authority should ascertain the place, city, town or local government where the project is to be executed and ensure they are not phony. There should be strict adherence to standards by the contractors which include but not restricted to best practices in quality and service delivery.

“The government should have a very strict timeline with verifiable milestones for the duration of the project implementation,” the coalition said.

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