- The World Bank said it did not monitor the spending of recovered Abacha loot
- It said it was channeled into Nigeria's budget under former President Obasanjo
- It insisted that it did not audit the spending due to the structure
The World Bank has revealed that it did not play an active role in the spending of the loot recovered from late General Sani Abacha when he was Nigeria’s head of state from 1993 to 1998.
The Cable reports that this information was contained in the World Bank’s letter to Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).
It explained that the recovered loots were channelled into Nigeria’s budget in line with Olusegun Obasanjo’s National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS).
Due to the structure of the programme, the World Bank could not properly audit it to know how it was spent.
The world bank said: “The funds were returned directly from Switzerland to the Nigerian Government adding that it is committed to helping Nigeria account for the spending of the loots,” World Bank said.
“They were programmed into the national budget and utilized by the Nigerian Government in line with its National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS).
“As agreed with the Nigerian and Swiss governments, the Bank’s role was limited to carrying out an ex-post analysis on their use with a particular focus on their contribution to the NEEDS.
“This was done as part of the public expenditure review carried out jointly by Nigerian government and the Bank under the Country Partnership Strategy. The monitoring and analysis of repatriated funds was undertaken at two levels through: (1) the Bank-led analysis of general budget expenditure trends, and (2) a budget monitoring survey which was a limited field survey of sample projects funded under the budget program and randomly selected from a list of projects provided by the government.
“The budget monitoring survey was conducted by joint teams representing both government agencies and Nigerian civil society organizations. The Bank’s role in this particular case was limited by the design and different from the type of comprehensive audits we can do when funds are spent in projects supported by the Bank. We would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to explain the Bank’s role in this matter in the near future.
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“We do share your deep commitment to fighting corruption and promoting transparency and accountability. These are key ingredients to successful development and economic well-being.
“We believe that the work organizations like SERAP are doing is critical to achieve our common goal of improving the lives of people in Nigeria and beyond.”
Meanwhile, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Aare Afe Babalola, described Obasanjo as the best president Nigeria ever had.
The Punch reports that Babalola said Obasanjo, who had a rare opportunity to lead the nation three times, first as Military Head of State in the late 70s and twice elected president from 1999 to 2007, was known to him to be “a very energetic, strong-willed, and stubborn person.”
NAIJ.com gathered that Babalola said that: “He is difficult to persuade but he is a progressive man. He never became a professor but he knows better than most professors. He is a highly talented man and he is the best president Nigeria ever had.”
Watch a NAIJ.com TV video below of Obasanjo speaking about Nigeria;s unity: