I’ve no record of how much Gen Sani Abacha stole says Malami

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), has said he has no record of the amount of money stolen by the late military dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha.

The AGF added that he wouldn’t also know about $5bn Abacha loot allegedly recovered between 1999 and 2015 and how the money was spent.

Malami said this in response to a Freedom of Information request sent to his office by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, demanding accountability on recovered $5bn Abacha loot.

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SERAP had asked the Federal Government to make known to Nigerians “details of projects executed with the Abacha loot and their locations; details of companies and contractors involved in the execution of any such projects; details of all the agreements on the loot, the roles played by the World Bank and other actors, as well as the implementation status of all projects since 1999.”

In a statement on Sunday, SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oludare, said the AGF had responded to the group’s request via a February 26 letter.

Oludare quoted Malami to have said, “We have searched our records and the information on the exact amount of public funds stolen by Abacha and how recovered loot was spent from 1999 to 2015 is not held by the ministry.”

The AGF stressed that he was not in possession of “records of the exact amount of public funds stolen by a former military head of state, Sani Abacha, and no records of the spending of about $5bn recovered loot for the period between 1999 and 2015.

 “However, a total of $322m was recovered from Switzerland in January 2018 and the funds were used for the Social Investment Project. Also, $308m was recovered from the Island of Jersey in collaboration with the USA. While awaiting the transfer of the money to Nigeria, it has been designated for the following projects: Lagos-Ibadan Expressway; Abuja-Kano Expressway, and the Second Niger Bridge.”

But Oludare said SERAP was dissatisfied with the AGF’s response.

SERAP recalled that “a special panel set up on July 23, 1998 by the former head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, to probe the late military dictator General Sani Abacha stated that he stole over $5bn between 1993 and 1998 when he was in power. Much of the stolen public funds have been returned to Nigeria. Punch

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