SERAP Seeks details of spending on failed $460m CCTV contract, Chinese loans

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent a Freedom of Information (FoI) request to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, for details of the failed $460 million closed-circuit television (CCTV) contract and other Chinese loans.

In the request dated October 25, 2019 and signed by the deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP urged the minister to “urgently provide information on the total amount paid to contractors out of the $460 million loan obtained in 2010 from China to fund the apparently failed Abuja CCTV contract, the loan which the Federal Government has continued to re-pay.”

The Lagos-based rights group also urged her to disclose specific details of local contractors, if any, that received part of the loan for the contract reportedly awarded to China’s ZTE Corporation, as well as the implementation status of the project.It added: “We urge you to clarify if the N1.5 billion paid in 2010 for another apparently failed contract to construct the headquarters of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) is part of another Chinese loan.”

SERAP said it would take legal action if the requested information were not provided to it within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of the letter.

“We are concerned that Nigerians are being made to pay the Chinese loans for apparently failed projects, and for which they have not benefited in any way, shape or form.

“Transparency in the spending of Chinese loans is good for everyone, as this would help to increase the effectiveness, legitimacy and contribution of the loans to the development of public goods and services, as well as general public interest.”

According to the rights group, servicing Chinese loans for failed projects is double jeopardy for Nigerians – they can neither see nor benefit from the projects, yet they are made to pay both the loans and the accrued interests.“The loans should never have been obtained in the first place, as successive governments should have drawn funds from the over $670 million (N241.2 billion) budgeted annually as security votes, but which remain synonymous with official corruption and unaccounted for,” it added.The organisation expressed concern that the $460 million loan for the Abuja CCTV project and the N1.5 billion for the construction of CCB headquarters might have been mismanaged or stolen. TheGuardianng

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