A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate how $4 billion recovered from former military Head of State, General Sani Abacha was spent by the federal government.
The human rights activist wants the EFCC to specifically confirm the actual amount recovered from the Abacha loot and the extent of the alleged diversion of the said loot by former Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki and others.
The Lagos lawyer, who made this request in a petition dated December 18, 2015, and which was sent to the anti-graft agency, said that “unless the Abacha loot is fully accounted for, the Buhari administration will find it difficult to receive the cooperation of many governments in the ongoing efforts to recover the stolen wealth of the country”.
He also said, “Following the death of the then military Head of State, General Sani Abacha on June 8, 1998, his successor, General Abdulsalami Abubakar ordered a probe into the looting of the Central Bank of Nigeria from 1993-1998.
“At the end of the enquiry it was established that the late dictator stole about $5 billion from the vaults of the CBN through his National Security Adviser, Mr Mohammed Gwazo. A substantial part of the stolen fund has since been traced to over 140 bank accounts in western countries and some remote islands in the world.
“Based on the report of the investigations, the Federal Government recovered $635 million, £75 million, DM 30 million and N9 billion as well as several vehicles and properties in Abuja, Lagos and Kano together with 40% interests in West African Refinery in Sierra Leone.
“At page 495 of the second volume of his book entitled “My Watch” former President Obasanjo stated that “…by the time I left office in May 2009, over $2 billion and £100 million had been recovered from the Abacha family abroad, and well as N10 billion in cash and properties locally.
“Under the Goodluck Jonathan Administration the recovery efforts continued and over $1 billion was recovered.
“But in a desperate bid to cover up the gross mismanagement and criminal diversion of the Abacha loot, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had repeatedly maintained that only $500 million had been recovered by the federal government.
“To lend credence to the fraudulent claim, the World Bank confirmed in a reply to an enquiry by SERAP that the $500 million recovered from the loot had been judiciously spent on some phantom development projects in several parts of the country.
“But following the recent revelation by the online tabloid, Premium Times that a substantial part of the loot had been criminally diverted, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala has admitted that she transferred $322 million from the Abacha loot to former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki to prosecute the war on terror.
“Apart from the said sum of £322 million, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala also released £5.5 million pounds to Col. Dasuki.
“Mrs Okonjo-Iweala’s excuse that the said sum of $322 million was released due to the urgency of the crisis in the north east region is untenable having regards to the fact that former President Jonathan had sought the approval of the National Assembly to take a loan of $1 billion to equip the armed forces to fight insurgency.
“Therefore, the self-induced urgency created by Mrs Okonjo-Iweala is not a justification for spending public funds without appropriation. It may interest you to know that the sum of $500 million allegedly spent on development projects was also not appropriated by the National Assembly.”