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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has given the Federal Government seven days to disclose the exact public funds stolen by a former Head of State, the late Gen. Sani  Abacha, and how about $5 billion recovered loot since the return of democracy in 1999.

It said details of projects executed with the recovered loot and their locations as well as the names of the companies and contractors that executed the projects should be provided.

Government, according to SERAP, should also provide details of the agreements on the loot, the roles played by the World Bank and other actors, as well as the implementation status of the projects since 1999.

The group made the demand under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act.

It added: “If we do not heard from you within days (seven) as stated, we shall take all appropriate legal actions under the FoI Act to compel you to comply with our requests.”

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However, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has given further insight into what transpired during the signing of the agreement on the return of the $308 million cash recovered from an account belonging Abacha in New Jersey.

EFCC Secretary, Mr. Olanipekun Olukoyede, who was part of the commission’s team at the ceremony two weeks ago,said the United States threatened to recover the money, if it was not used for the purpose spelt out in the agreement.

Olukoyede spoke during an anti-corruption walk organised in collaboration with the State Ministry of Youths and Development and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) last Friday

The agreement signed in Washington D.C. between the US, and New Jersey clearly stated that the $308 million should be used to execute the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the Abuja-Kano Road and the Second Niger Bridge.

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Olukoyede said that the US warned that the money could be recovered, if it finds out that it was being re-looted

He said: “Two weeks ago, I was privileged to be on the team that went to recover $308million for Nigeria. We were in Washington.

“You know what the Oyinbos told us when we wanted to sign the treaty? They looked into our eyes and said: ‘If you people steal this money again, we will collect it back from you.’

“I stood up against them, I said: ‘We are not a corrupt nation. A few people might have stolen money, but Nigeria is not a corrupt nation. We have a lot of youths who are not corrupt.

“And you know it is not their fault.  They said that because they have seen recovered loot being looted again.”

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Public money looted by Abacha and his cronies during in their five years in power is estimated to be about $5 billion.

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Abass Sulaiman Adegoke, well known as Adegoke is a student of Federal Polytechnic Ede studying Civil Engineering, He is a media enthusiast, loves traveling, and has a special interest in personal development.

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News

Nigeria loses N2.5 trillion to fraud every year- Forensic body reveals

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The Society for Forensic Accountants and Fraud Prevention (SFAFP), a body that studies the management of funds by Government agencies, has revealed that loses N2.5 trillion  yearly in the national budget to public sector fraud and corruption.

SFAFP Chairman Iliyasu Gashinbaki, revealed that in Africa, 25 per cent of annual budgets of countries are diverted through bad schemes by politicians.

 

Gashinbaki, speaking at a virtual induction of 192 associates of SFAFP at the weekend, revealed public officers mismanaged government money by unlawful use of public assets for private advances, underpayment of taxes and duties on export as well as import.

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Other methods of embezzlement include payment of salary to ghost workers; bribery and extortion; payment for air supply (goods or services not provided or rendered); over and under-invoicing; fraudulent court awards of financial compensations above damage suffered.

“Recent studies have shown that most African governments struggle with the huge debt burden, in addition to huge loss of revenue due to fraud and corruption consistently draining its little resources.

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“In Nigeria, N2.5 trillion is lost yearly to fraud using schemes like over and under-invoicing’. He said.

“Other ways include fraudulent court awards of financial compensations above damage suffered, fraud and embezzlement include payment of salary to ghost workers; bribery and extortion; payment for air supply and goods or services not provided or rendered.

 

According to Gashinbaki, the SFAFP, would continue to provide technical support for the public and private sectors.

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News

Electricity tariff increase won’t affect the poor – NERC

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The Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) Monday said that the proposed tariff increase that has been suspended will not affect poor electricity customers when it takes effect.

In his presentation to the Senate Committee on Power at the commission’s head office in Abuja, the NERC chairman, Prof. James Momoh told the lawmakers who were in their oversight function that a mechanism has been put in place to absorb the masses of the adverse impacts of the hike.

Speaking with reporters after the event, he said “It is not going to affect the poor. We will make sure that the downtrodden and the people you feel for at the moment will not be affected by any increase we will be bringing forth

“It will be based on the hours of service and the quality of power available there. We don’t want the poor to subsidize the payment of the rich. In other words, we must make sure that the poor are not sacrificed in the process of tariff increase.”

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Meanwhile, the committee chairman, Senator Gabriel Suswan urged the commission to handle the tariff increase with caution because of the economic hardship it could inflict on the people.

He told Momoh to the Senate is opposed to the proposed increase in tariff but having viewed that most Nigerians cannot even feed themselves at the moment owing to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the commission has “to make haste slowly” about the tariff.

Explaining what “to make haste slowly” meant, the lawmaker said the NERC has reviewed the tariff but the economy has contracted by over 2 percent due to COVID.

“By their own Programme, they (NERC) is supposed to activated tariff increase by 1st of July.

We met with them at the level of National Assembly and appealed that given the circumstances of the COVID they should tally awhile let Nigerians a beat recover from the economic shocks before they can activate that tariff.”

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According to him, the commission suspended the hike because of the pleas of the Senate. He insists at the suspend the hike does not rule out its eventual increase.

Suswan said the liquidity of the sector depends on a cost-reflective tariff.

The lawmaker said the commission is presently supporting the National Assembly for the enactment of the Electricity Act since the one in force at the moment was pre privatization of the sector.

The new bill, said the committee chairman, is expected to be presented to the National Assembly before August this year.

The lawmaker said “these have gone beyond privatization. There has to be an electricity act that will set the framework that touches on energy theft: how people will be sanctioned. It gives potential investors the comfort to come here and invest knowing that legal framework protects them. NERC is supporting us financially to put that act together. By August we should be able to put that act before the National Assembly.”

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