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World Bank documents reveal Abacha’s loot was spent on infrastructure


World Bank Group

World Bank Group. Photo: techcabal

SEVERAL documents emanating from the World Bank at the weekend suggested that money recovered from the late General Sani Abacha was spent on roads, electricity, education, health and water.

The documents totalling over 700 pages were received by the Lagos-based rights group, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) in response to information sought on the spending of recovered assets stolen by the late Abacha.

SERAP Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, in a statement yesterday confirmed receipt of several documents from Ann May of the Access to Information Team of the World Bank as well as a letter from the director of the World Bank in Africa, Mr Rachid Benmessaoud, following the organisation’s access to Information Request to the bank.

According to Mumuni, “in total, SERAP has received over 700 pages of documents, which we are now closely studying and scrutinising with a view to discovering whether the documents contain details that Nigerians would like to see and whether the information corresponds to the facts on the ground.

“After this analysis, we will respond to the bank and consider our 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,” he added.

The organisation stated further: “In the meantime our preliminary review of some of the documents and the letter from Mr. Rachid Benmessaoud have revealed certain facts which raise more questions about what exactly happened to Abacha loot: First, that Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as Minister of Finance in a letter dated 9th January 2005 explained to the bank that around $500 million (N65 billion) of Abacha loot received from Switzerland was programmed into and spent in the 2004 and 2005 budgets on roads, electricity, education, water and health across all six geo-political zones of Nigeria.

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