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Okonjo-Iweala reveals how $500m Abacha loot was spent

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Based on a letter to the World Bank by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) former Minister of Finance and coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has revealed how about $500 million (N65bn) recovered from the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha in Switzerland was spent.
In documents made available to SERAP, the former minister told the World Bank that the funds were expended within the 2004 and 2005 budgets on roads, electricity, education, water and health across all six geo-political zones of Nigeria.
SERAP executive director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, in a statement said the organization has “received several documents from the World Bank totaling over 700 pages on information on the spending of recovered assets stolen by the late General Abacha, with some of the documents suggesting that the Abacha loot was spent on roads, electricity, education, health and water.”
The organisation said: “SERAP can confirm that last week we received several documents from Ann May of the Access to Information Team of the World Bank following our Access to Information Request to the Bank. We also received a letter dated 24 November 2015 from Mr Rachid Benmessaoud, Director of the World Bank in Africa.”
Mumuni further stated, that his organisation will respond to the Bank and consider its options, including filing an appeal before the Bank’s Access to Information Appeals Board and taking other appropriate legal actions nationally and internationally to discover what exactly happened to Abacha recovered loot.

Read also: World Bank to reveal details of how Abacha loot was spent

The organisation said that “Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as Minister of Finance in a letter dated 9 January 2005 explained to the Bank that around $500m (N65bn) of Abacha loot received from Switzerland was programmed into and spent in the 2004 and 2005 that N18.60bn was spent on roads; N10.83bn spent on health; N7bn spent on education; N6.20bn spent on water; and N21.70bn spent on electricity. She also said that part of the funds were spent on new and ongoing investment projects.
“Mrs Iweala said that relevant federal ministries have the full details on the spending of repatriated Abacha loot. The Bank noted that there was no funds monitoring and tracking mechanism in place to trace the spending of Abacha loot,” the organisation also disclosed.
“Third, Mr Rachid Benmessaoud said that the Bank would be prepared to set up a mechanism to monitor the use of Abacha loot if the Nigerian government request the Bank’s assistance in this respect.”
SERAP then argued that “given Mrs Okonjo-Iweala’s involvement in the spending of Abacha loot, President Muhammadu Buhari should urgently probe the role of the Ministry of Finance and relevant federal ministries at the time in the spending of Abacha loot particularly given the strong allegations of mismanagement that characterised the use of the funds”

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