The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), has said he has no record of the amount of money stolen by the late military dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha.
The AGF added that he wouldn’t also know about $5bn Abacha loot allegedly recovered between 1999 and 2015 and how the money was spent.
Malami said this in response to a Freedom of Information request sent to his office by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, demanding accountability on recovered $5bn Abacha loot.
SERAP had asked the Federal Government to make known to Nigerians “details of projects executed with the Abacha loot and their locations; details of companies and contractors involved in the execution of any such projects; details of all the agreements on the loot, the roles played by the World Bank and other actors, as well as the implementation status of all projects since 1999.”
In a statement on Sunday, SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oludare, said the AGF had responded to the group’s request via a February 26 letter.
Oludare quoted Malami to have said, “We have searched our records and the information on the exact amount of public funds stolen by Abacha and how recovered loot was spent from 1999 to 2015 is not held by the ministry.”
The AGF stressed that he was not in possession of “records of the exact amount of public funds stolen by a former military head of state, Sani Abacha, and no records of the spending of about $5bn recovered loot for the period between 1999 and 2015.
“However, a total of $322m was recovered from Switzerland in January 2018 and the funds were used for the Social Investment Project. Also, $308m was recovered from the Island of Jersey in collaboration with the USA. While awaiting the transfer of the money to Nigeria, it has been designated for the following projects: Lagos-Ibadan Expressway; Abuja-Kano Expressway, and the Second Niger Bridge.”
But Oludare said SERAP was dissatisfied with the AGF’s response.
Oluwadare said, “The failure to provide information on the exact amount stolen by Abacha and on spending of recovered loot for the period between 1999 and 2015 implicitly amounts to a refusal by the government.
“The government also failed to provide sufficient details on the spending and planned spending of the $630m it said it recovered since 2018.
“In the circumstances and given that Mrs Zainab Ahmed has failed and/or refused to respond to our FoI request, we are finalising the papers for legal actions under the FoI Act to compel the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to fully and effectively comply with our requests.”
SERAP recalled that “a special panel set up on July 23, 1998 by the former head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, to probe the late military dictator General Sani Abacha stated that he stole over $5bn between 1993 and 1998 when he was in power. Much of the stolen public funds have been returned to Nigeria.
“The report by the panel shows that the government recovered some $635m, £75m, DM 30m and N9bn as well as several vehicles and properties in Abuja, Lagos and Kano together with 40 per cent interests in West African Refinery in Sierra Leone. Other assets were recovered from the Abacha family and associates.
“Furthermore, former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration also reportedly recovered over $2bn of Abacha loot. Mr Obasanjo would seem to confirm this fact when he stated in the second volume of his book titled My Watch that: ‘by the time I left office in May 2007, over $2bn and £100m had been recovered from the Abacha family abroad, and N10bn in cash and properties locally.’
“Similarly, former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration reportedly recovered $226.3m and €7.5m from Liechtenstein. Some £22.5m was also recovered from the Island of Jersey while $322m and £5.5m from the Abacha loot were reportedly returned to the government.
“The government of President Muhammadu Buhari has also recovered several millions of dollars of Abacha loot since assuming office in May 2015, including $321m from Switzerland, and $300m from the US and Jersey.”
NAICOM Licences Seven New Insurance Firms
By Sola Alabadan
The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) issued operational licences to seven insurance companies in Abuja today, in line with Market Conduct & Business Practice Guidelines.
The new insurance firms are Heirs Insurance Limited (General), Heirs Life Assurance Limited, Stanbic IBTC Insurance Limited (life), Enterprise Life Assurance Company, FBS Reinsurance Limited, Salam Takaful and Cornerstone Takaful Insurance Company Limited.
The Commissioner for Insurance, Sunday Thomas, who gave the operational licences to the five firms at NAICOM Head Office, said the Commission has issued operational licences to the firms to operate insurance business.
According to him: “The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) received applications from the under listed companies for registration as Insurance and reinsurance Companies to transact insurance and reinsurance business in Nigeria.
“In fulfillment of the statutory provisions of extant laws for the registration/licensing of insurance Companies, the general public is hereby informed that the Commission has commenced the process of registering the companies.
Consequently:” Heir Insurance Limited (General) has picked, Olaniyi Stephen Onifade as its Managing Director, Stanbic IBTC Insurance Limited, picked, Akinjide Orimolade as Managing Director; Heirs Life Assurance Limited picked Abah Okoriko and Enterprise Life Assurance Company Nigeria Limited picked Fumilayo Abimbola Omo.
“FBS Reinsurance Limited is led by the former Commissioner of Insurance, Fola Daniel. FBS is bringing together professionals with proven experience from the brokerage and underwriting units of the industry including Bala Zakariyau, the former managing director of Niger Insurance who currently plays in a support unit of the Nigerian aviation industry, Ahmed Olaniyi Salawu of the Standard Insurance Consultants, and Wole Oshin Bankole of the Custodian Investment Plc that has just taken a plunge into the property sector by taking a large chunk of the United Property Development Company, a subsidiary of the UACN Plc.
“These crops of professionals represent those with firm beliefs that there is a big insurance potential in Nigeria and indeed, the African continent. Others are Ebele Ofunneamaka Okeke, from Nnewi North, Anambra who rose to the position of the Head of Nigerian Civil Service before her retirement, and also, Yusuf Hamisu Abubakar, a lawyer, and an accomplished administrator and businessman with vast experience at the senior executive level in power and communication sectors.
“The reinsurance firm is required to pay the new N20 billion capitalisation stipulated by the commission under the reform exercise for it to start a business in the industry.”
Power: FG Ready To Support DisCos’ Initiatives – Minister
Mr Saleh Mamman, Minister of Power, says the Federal Government is ready to support any initiative by electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) aimed at addressing the challenges facing the power sector.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mamman spoke at the inauguration of Eko Electric Distribution Company’s (EKEDC) Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) System on Thursday in Lagos.
Mamman said : “I felicitate with and commend the EKEDC’s Board of Directors and management for this milestone.
“SCADA is one of the most advanced technologies in the power distribution business globally and I am optimistic that this event will translate to improved service delivery within EKEDC’s network.
“The inauguration of this SCADA system will help EKEDC monitor and respond quicker to faults and reduce the outage durations which would improve quality of service delivery to customers.”
According to him, the SCADA project will help the DisCo meet its set objectives under the recently executed Service Level Agreements with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
He said the project would provide access to real time data that enables distribution system operators to make informed decisions that improve reliability and availability, consistent with the targets of the Service Based Tariff (SBT) regime.
Mamman said the FG was working assiduously to address the challenges of the power sector through initiatives such as the National Mass Metering Programme, the Siemens AG Power Project and upgrade of power infrastructure across the country.
Earlier, Mr Adeoye Fadeyibi, Managing Director, EKEDC, thanked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for its support to the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry which paved way for the SCADA project.
Fadeyibi said : “SCADA is a centralised computer system which represents the evolution of our network operations from the present physical monitoring, remote coverage and relay of network information.
“By contrast, SCADA innovatively gathers real time information, identifies loopholes or breaches in the network and transfers this data back to a central site where the necessary analysis and control is carried out.
“The result of this analysis is then displayed in a logical and organised fashion. The project involves monitoring, control, fault tracking, data analysis and operations optimisation of our high-tension network.
“As part of Eko DisCo’s effort to improve operational efficiency, revenue generation and reduction of our Aggregate Technical Commercial and Collection Losses, we have implemented the SCADA project to automate our electric power distribution network across our franchise coverage area.”
He said the achievement by the DisCo showed that the FG’s Power Sector privatisation programme was a laudable decision, as it had completely transformed the sector and the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry.
Emirates Offers Travellers $500,000 Multi-risk Travel Cover
Emirates airlines has announced that it will provide travellers a multi- risk travel cover worth $ 500 , 000 on top of its current COVID-19 cover.
The airline stated that the new multi- risk travel insurance and COVID-19 cover will automatically apply to all Emirates tickets purchased from December 1 , and extend to Emirates codeshare flights operated by partner airlines , as long as the ticket number starts with 176.
Emirates Chairman and Chief Executive , Ahmed bin Al Maktoum was quoted as saying , “ Emirates was the first airline to offer complimentary global COVID -19 cover for travellers back in July , and the response from our customers has been tremendously encouraging.
“ We have not rested on our laurels and instead continued to look at how we can offer our customers an even better proposition. We are very pleased to be able to now provide this new multi- risk travel insurance and COVID – 19 cover , which is another industry first, to all our customers.”
He added, “ We aim to give our customers even more confidence in making their travel plans this winter and moving into 2021 by the launch of this feature .”
Highlights of the coverage include out -of – country emergency medical expenses and evacuation up to $ 500 ,000 , valid for COVID -19 ( contracted during the trip ) and other medical emergencies while travelling abroad.
It also involves trip cancellation up to $ 7 ,500 for non- refundable costs if the traveller or a relative ( as defined in the policy ) is unable to travel because they are diagnosed with COVID- 19 before the scheduled trip departure date , or for other named reasons – similar to other comprehensive travel cover products.