“11 QUESTIONS ON ABACHA LOOT OKONJO-IWEALA MUST ANSWER”

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SOCIOECONOMIC Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has posed eleven questions to former finance and coordinating minister for the economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, after the ex-minister described the statement by the civil society group, demanding her probe over the management of the Abacha loot as a politically-sponsored action.

In a statement on Sunday by SERAP Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, the organisation said: “By making unfounded allegations against SERAP, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala has provided little more than an unhelpful distraction, which can only serve to undermine genuine efforts to promote transparency and accountability in Nigeria, the country that she claims to love so dearly.”

“As we continue to study the documents received from the World Bank, we have identified 11 questions that Nigerians would like Mrs Okonjo-Iweala to answer as a matter of priority.

“First, the World Bank confirmed that of the 51 projects reviewed, 23 were described as ‘completed,’ 26 at various stages of completion and two described as ‘abandoned.’ Nigerians would like Mrs Okonjo-Iweala to show us evidence of the 23 projects allegedly completed and whether the 26 projects were actually completed and what became of the two abandoned projects.

“Second, Nigerians would like Mrs Okonjo-Iweala to explain the letter she wrote to the Ambassador of Switzerland to Nigeria January 9, 2005, that of the 174 health centres built with Abacha funds, 138 were fully functional and that remaining 36 were expected to be commissioned in January 2005.

“Third, Nigerians would like Mrs Okonjo-Iweala to identify and name the 10 power installations and to provide contact details of the contractors that executed the projects.

“Fourth, Nigerians would like Mrs Okonjo-Iweala to explain how much exactly was involved as a part of 2004 annual budget execution in anticipation of the repatriation of the looted funds in 2004, as well as repayment terms of the funds and from which banks.

“Fifth, Nigerians would like Mrs Okonjo-Iweala to explain how much was left in the account by the time she left office in May.

“Sixth, Nigerians would like Mrs Okonjo-Iweala to explain the material discrepancy and why the transfer of $5.2 million was not disclosed to the bank.

“Seventh, Nigerians would like Mrs Okonjo-Iweala to explain exactly the capital expenditure financed by the loot in the 2005 budget.

“Eighth, Nigerians would like Mrs Okonjo-Iweala to identify the number and location of schools which benefitted from these funds at the time.

“Ninth, the World Bank confirmed that there were problems with collecting project-related information because of underdeveloped reporting and accounting standards and absence of properly set-up databases for sectoral project portfolios; and weak administrative capacity in the ministry of finance. Nigerians would like Mrs Okonjo-Iweala to explain why this was the case under her watch.

“Tenth, the World Bank confirmed that 13 road projects were completed, including three of the largest road and bridge projects in each geopolitical zone. Nigerians would like Mrs Okonjo-Iweala to explain exactly what happened and to identify unconfirmed individual projects, including the largest roads and bridges completed.

“Eleventh, the World Bank confirmed that no special arrangements were made for project selection and monitoring. Nigerians would like Mrs Okonjo-Iweala to explain why this was the case under her watch.”

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