I’ve no record of how much Abacha stole — Malami

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

This report is 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.

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.”

Oluwadare said, “The failure to provide information on the exact amount stolen by Abacha and on spending of recovered loot for the period between 1999 and 2015 implicitly amounts to a refusal by the government.

“The government also failed to provide sufficient details on the spending and planned spending of the $630m it said it recovered since 2018.

“In the circumstances and given that Zainab Ahmed has failed and/or refused to respond to our FoI request, we are finalising the papers for legal actions under the FoI Act to compel the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to fully and effectively comply with our requests.”

 




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