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CBN fails to account for Abacha loot, other funds recovered since 2016

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Nigeria govt, US finalise agreement on repatriation of $308m Abacha loot

Despite the consistent announcement of recovered funds, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has failed to provide a record of the monies recovered.

This is according to the 2019 audit report published on its website and obtained by Ripples Nigeria on Tuesday.

CBN failed to record in its books recovered funds between January 2016 and December 2019.

Part of the report reads: “Audit observed from the review of Recovered Funds component of Inflows of Foreign Reserves that the sum of $40,502,645.06 (Forty million, five hundred and two thousand, six hundred and forty five dollar, six cents) was reported in the Summary of Monthly Foreign Exchange Cashflows last in December 2015.”

“No amount was shown as Recovered Funds between 2016 and 2019, and there was no justification for the nil recovery between 2016 and 2019 despite various public statements of recovered funds by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other agencies of government,” the report added.

According to Audit, CBN failing to provide details stands a risk of misinformation of the public.

The Audit office therefore requested CBN Governor furnish reasons for the nil recovery records between 2016 and 2019 or there might be sanctions relating to gross misconduct.

In response to the allegation from the Audit office, CBN said there was no inflow for the period January 2016 – December 2019.

“However, a review of the account showed credit interest for the period. Kindly find attached a summary of review.”

Read also: Court dismisses suit challenging appointment of consultant to monitor Abacha loot

CBN response contradicts several reports over the years from the present administration on recovered stolen funds.

In June 2016, the federal government announced the recoveries as part of its campaign promise on transparency.

The statement titled interim report on financial and asset recoveries made by the federal government of Nigeria from 29 May 2015 to 25 May 2016 reads that the Federal Government made cash recoveries totalling N78,325,354,631.82 (Seventy-eight billion, three hundred and twenty-five million, three hundred and fifty-four thousand, six hundred and thirty-one Naira and eighty-two kobo)

The statement also showed $185,119,584.61 (One hundred and eight-five million, one hundred and nineteen thousand, five hundred and eighty-four US dollars, sixty-one cents); 3,508,355.46 Pounds Sterling (Three million, five hundred and eight thousand, three hundred and fifty-five Pounds and 46 Pence) and 11, 250 Euros (Eleven thousand, two hundred and fifty Euros) from 29 May 2015 to 25 May 2016 were recovered.

Also in 2018, the Nigerian government was quoted as stating that $322 million stolen by the former military head of state, Sani Abacha was returned by Swiss Authorities.

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