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$5m recovered money: SERAP seeks details of expenditure from Fed Govt

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• U.S. threatens to retrieve $308m Abacha loot

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has given the Federal Government seven days to disclose the exact public funds stolen by a former Head of State, the late Gen. Sani  Abacha, and how about $5 billion recovered loot since the return of democracy in 1999.

It said details of projects executed with the recovered loot and their locations as well as the names of the companies and contractors that executed the projects should be provided.

Government, according to SERAP, should also provide details of the agreements on the loot, the roles played by the World Bank and other actors, as well as the implementation status of the projects since 1999.

The group made the demand under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act.

It added: “If we do not heard from you within days (seven) as stated, we shall take all appropriate legal actions under the FoI Act to compel you to comply with our requests.”

However, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has given further insight into what transpired during the signing of the agreement on the return of the $308 million cash recovered from an account belonging Abacha in New Jersey.

EFCC Secretary, Mr. Olanipekun Olukoyede, who was part of the commission’s team at the ceremony two weeks ago,said the United States threatened to recover the money, if it was not used for the purpose spelt out in the agreement.

Olukoyede spoke during an anti-corruption walk organised in collaboration with the Lagos State Ministry of Youths and Sports Development and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) last Friday.

The agreement signed in Washington D.C. between the US, Nigeria and New Jersey clearly stated that the $308 million should be used to execute the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the Abuja-Kano Road and the Second Niger Bridge.

Olukoyede said that the US warned that the money could be recovered, if it finds out that it was being re-looted

He said: “Two weeks ago, I was privileged to be on the team that went to recover $308million for Nigeria. We were in Washington.

“You know what the Oyinbos told us when we wanted to sign the treaty? They looked into our eyes and said: ‘If you people steal this money again, we will collect it back from you.’

“I stood up against them, I said: ‘We are not a corrupt nation. A few people might have stolen money, but Nigeria is not a corrupt nation. We have a lot of youths who are not corrupt.

“And you know it is not their fault.  They said that because they have seen recovered loot being looted again.”

Public money looted by Abacha and his cronies during in their five years in power is estimated to be about $5 billion.

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