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W’Bank urges patience over disclosure of Abacha loot spending


World Bank Chief Jim Yong Kim

World Bank Chief Jim Yong Kim

The World Bank Access to Information Committee has asked for more time to reach a decision on the appeal lodged with it by a Lagos-based rights group, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) regarding spending of recovered late General Sani Abacha’s stolen funds.

In the appeal dated February 5, 2016, SERAP has requested the Access to Information (AI) Appeals Board to exercise its prerogative and allow disclosure of the following specific information and any feedback from the World Bank Evaluation Team on the issues below:

Evidence and list of the 23 projects allegedly completed with recovered Abacha loot, and whether the 26 projects were actually completed; and what became of the two (2) abandoned projects.

Evidence and location of the eight (8) health centers built with recovered Abacha loot reviewed by the World Bank;

Evidence and location of the 18 power projects confirmed by the World Bank;

How the $50million Abacha loot received before 2005 kept in the special account was spent;

Evidence and location of schools, which benefited from the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme in the amount of N24.25bn;

Evidence and location of the 13 road projects completed with the recovered Abacha loot, including the names of the 3 of the largest road and bridge projects in each geo-political zone.

However, in a letter addressed to SERAP’s Deputy Director, Olukayode Majekodunmi, the World Bank Access to Information Committee said although it makes its best efforts to reach a decision on appeals within 45 working days of receiving an appeal, but in this case, it needs additional time to reach a decision. We appreciate your patience while the Access to Information Committee considers your appeal.

The letter received yesterday by SERAP reads in part: “In response to your appeal under Case Number AI3982-A, this is to inform you that your appeal remains under consideration by the Access to Information Committee in accordance with the World Bank’s Access to Information Policy.”

SERAP, it will be recalled had in the appeal stated that it considered the decision not to reveal important portions of the information requested on how Abacha loot was spent “a serious violation of the AI Policy, as it amounts to improper or unreasonable restriction of access to information.”

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