SERAP rejects World Bank’s explanation on Abacha loot spending

SERAP rejects World Bank’s explanation on Abacha loot spending

A human rights advocacy group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, has accused the World Bank of resorting to technicalities rather than explaining how the loot recovered from late military dictator, Gen. Sanni Abacha, was spent.

In a statement on Sunday by his Deputy Director, Timothy Adewale, the organisation expressed sceptism about the World Bank’s response that it “cannot locate any additional information on the projects executed with recovered stolen public funds by the late General Sani Abacha.”

According to Adewale, the World Bank Access to Information Appeal Committee had last week written to SERAP saying it was “unable to fulfill” the organisation’s request for information on spending of recovered Abacha loot.

Rejecting the response, however, SERAP said the World Bank ought to have answered the outstanding questions on the spending of the recovered Abacha loot to prove that it is willing to put people first in the implementation of its development and governance policies and mandates.

The group argued that with its response to the question on the spending of the recovered Abacha loot, the World Bank stood the risk of having its future role in supervising and monitoring of spending of recovered stolen public funds questioned or legally challenged for lacking transparency and accountability.

The group regretted that by not answering outstanding questions on the projects executed with the recovered Abacha loot, remedies for Nigerian communities that were victims of public looting would have been foreclosed.

The statement read in part, “Any failure to take decisive action to uncover what exactly happened to the projects reportedly executed with the recovered Abacha loot which the bank volunteered to supervise and monitor would shed a bad light on the World Bank, undermine its goal of alleviating poverty, and may mark the demise of transparency and accountability at the bank.

“Communities that have been affected by the apparent mismanagement of the recovered Abacha loot should receive from the bank proper and adequate compensation as well as community-based development benefits such as education, sanitation systems, health care, and community services (particularly for the elderly, mothers and children), access to clean water, access to livelihoods, and other locally determined remedial measures.

“SERAP considers this is a basic corrective justice, and it is the bare minimum required in the circumstances.

“SERAP also urges you to adopt and implement a Transparency Charter with respect to your ongoing and future supervisory and monitoring duties on the spending of recently recovered Abacha loot in order to ensure the integrity of the process of project execution.

“SERAP believes that the bank’s goals of promoting transparency, accountability and the rule of law in countries would gain more credibility and respect if the bank can lead by example particularly in its supervisory and monitoring role of spending of recovered stolen public funds.”



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