In Nigeria, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Federal Government to “disclose within seven days the exact amount of public funds stolen by former military Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, and details of spending of the about $5 billion of the loot reportedly recovered since the return of democracy in 1999.”
The ultimatum followed two Freedom of Information (FoI) requests sent on Friday 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 (SAN) by the Lagos- based rights group.
In the inquiries, SERAP is also urging the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to “disclose details of projects executed with the Abacha loot and their locations, details of companies and contractors involved in the execution of any such projects, details of all the agreements on the loot, the roles played by the World Bank and other actors as well as the implementation status of all projects since 1999.”
The demands read in part: “If we have not heard from you within seven days as stated, SERAP shall take all appropriate legal action under the FoI Act to compel you to comply with our requests. Access to the details sought would allow Nigerians an opportunity to assess the impacts of any projects carried out with the funds.
“We are concerned that the allegations of corruption and mismanagement involving the use of Abacha loot may be responsible for the increasing level of grand corruption over the years and the entrenched impunity of perpetrators.
“Publishing details of spending of Abacha loot by successive administrations would also ensure that persons with public responsibilities are answerable to the people for the performance of their duties, including the management of Nigeria’s commonwealth.”
Signed by its deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the group feared that that a substantial part of the estimated $5 billion repatriated booty might have been diverted, re-stolen or mismanaged.