No More Information on Abacha Loot, World Bank Replies SERAP

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The World Bank has told Nigerian rights group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) that it “cannot locate any additional information on the projects executed with recovered stolen public funds by the late General Sani Abacha.”

SERAP deputy director, Timothy Adewale, made this disclosure in a release sent to SaharaReporters few hours ago.

According to the response sent to SERAP, the World Bank Access to Information Appeal Committee said, “In response to your request under case number AI4288 (related to your initial request case number AI3982), we wish to inform you that we have thoroughly searched our records and databases but have not been able to locate any additional information that is responsive to your request beyond what we have already shared with you. Therefore, we are unable to fulfill your request.”

It would be recalled that the World Bank last year asked for more time to release details on the spending of recovered loot by Abacha when SERAP requested for detail of how Abacha loot was spent.

When the Bank failed to provide additional information, SERAP later sent open letter to the Bank’s president Dr. Jim Yong Kim requesting him to use his “good offices and leadership position to urgently address the public perception that the World Bank is seeking to distance itself from responsibility over alleged mismanagement in the spending of recovered Abacha loot.”

Specifically, the organization asked Dr Kim to “establish a Special Inspection Panel on Nigeria to visit locations across the country to verify whether or not the projects reportedly executed by the Nigerian government with the funds were actually executed.”

In the letter dated 28 April 2017 and signed by Mr. Adewale the organization expressed concern that “the apparent lack of transparency and accountability in the spending of recovered Abacha loot and the fact that the Bank has now come to the conclusion that it has no more information to provide on the status of the projects reportedly executed with the funds have impacted negatively on the communities across the country who are victims of corruption.”

The organization argued that, “Using technicalities under the Bank’s Access to Information Policy to refuse to answer outstanding questions on the projects reportedly executed with recovered Abacha loot would leave communities across the country that have been negatively affected by the mismanagement of the funds without any effective remedies.”

The letter read in part: “Getting to the root of how Abacha loot was spent would demonstrate that the World Bank is willing to put people first in the implementation of its development and governance policies and mandates, as well as remove any suspicion of the Bank’s complicity in the alleged mismanagement of the recovered public funds.”

This disclosure may have put the lid on further investigation regarding how Abacha loot was expended.

Prof. Itse Sagay, Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), in January said Nigeria risked losing another $550m recovered from the Abacha family to the United States contrary to the earlier promise by the U.S. to return same to Nigeria.

Sagay said  the stringent conditions for repatriation being given by the USA and other countries in which some of the nation’s stolen wealth was stashed contradicted the earlier promises made.

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