Jonathan Govt Stole Recovered Abacha Loot – CISLAC | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Jonathan Govt Stole Recovered Abacha Loot – CISLAC

Posted: Jul 9, 2015 at 7:23 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Hassan Zaggi, Abuja

All funds looted by the former military head of state, Sani Abacha, that were recovered by the federal government were stolen by officials of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s government.

Executive director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Ibrahim Rafsanjani, disclosed to journalists   in Abuja on Thursday, after a briefing to mark the beginning of   a workshop on financing for development, under the auspices of the West African Civil Society Forum.

He, however, did not disclose the amount of money involved in all.

As Nigeria’s military leader between 1993 and 1998, Abacha carted away billions of dollars of public funds to various accounts abroad.

Transparency International estimated that a about $5 billion was stolen by the military dictator. The loot included money in three accounts at HSBC Bank, and another in Standard Bank, England; five accounts in Cítibank Private Bank of London; one account in Deutsche Bank International Ltd, in Jersey, United States; three accounts in Banque SBA SA and one in Standard Alliance Corporation, France.

There were also funds in nine accounts in Luxemburg and Liechtenstein totalling about $248.64 million and 179.14 million Euros, which was transferred to the Bank for International Settlements in 2014.

The CISLAC director said: “The Abacha money that was recovered was actually looted. I was part of the people who negotiated with Swiss NGOs and the Swiss government to get the Abacha loot and when the money was brought to Nigeria, we could not see actually what the money was used for.

“We worked with the former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; she could not explain why that money disappeared. That money, as far as we are concerned, got looted again.”

He, however, expressed optimism that halting corruption and all leakages that give room for corruption in Nigeria was possible, if government has the will to do that.

“It is about the will. If the government has a will to block the leakages and stop corruption and sanction whoever is concerned, no matter how highly placed they are, it is possible to stop corruption in the country,” he said.

On the workshop, Rafsanjani explained that it was organised “to discuss certain priority agenda and ensure the views of civil society groups are actually mainstream in the discussion that is going to take place at the International Conference on Financing for Development in Ethiopia next week, on financing for development in Africa.”

“We came up with a lot of recommendations and suggestions that we think, if our leaders can take note of them, we will be able to block the leakages, block corruption so that we have more resources for financing development in Africa,” he said.