Nigeria invites bid for monitoring of spending of Abacha loot
The Federal Ministry of Justice on Thursday opened technical bids for Consultancy Service to monitor the implementation of Abacha loot III. Newsmen that the Consultancy Service is to undertake the monitoring of the implementation of the tripartite agreement on the Sharing, Transfer, Disposition, Repatriation and Management of the Abacha Forfeited Assets. Mrs Ladidi Mohammed, Head, Asset Recovery and Management Unit, Ministry of justice declared open the bidding process. Mohammed said the process is in tandem with the Asset Return Agreement of Feb. 3 by the Nigeria government, the United States and the Bailiwick of Jersey. ‘`This Agreement is based on international law and cooperation measures that set out the procedures for the repatriation, transfer, disposition and management of the assets. “The government is committed to supporting and assisting in expediting the construction of the three major infrastructure projects across Nigeria in the agreement. “The projects are the Lagos – Ibadan Expressway, Abuja–Kano Road, and the Second Niger Bridge,’’ she explained. She said that the aim of the bid is to select a Civil Society Organisation Monitoring Team to oversee the implementation of the projects and report regularly on progress made to the public. “This is to ensure transparent management of the returned assets’’. Newsmen report that the process for the engagement of the monitoring team commenced with adverts published in some media. These include two Nigerian newspapers – Daily Trust and the Punch of March 4, and a Notice of Extension on April 17, the Federal Tenders Journal of March 9 and 23, and the Economist of March 14. The adverts were also on the website of the Federal Ministry of Justice – www.justice.gov.ng. Mr Nasiru Bello, a representative of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) while opening the bids noted that 17 organisations submitted entries for the technical bid. He added that the bids will be handed over to the Evaluation Committee to ensure that due process followed all through. “The Due Process Mechanism is to establish and sustain an open, transparent and competitive procurement system that is integrity-driven. NAN reports that the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, had on May 4, confirmed the receipt of 311,797,866.11 million dollars of the Abacha assets repatriated from the U.S. and the Bailiwick of Jersey. According to Malami, “the amount increased from over 308 million US dollars mentioned in the press release issued in February to 311,797,866.11 million dollars following the accrued interest from Feb. 3 to April 28 when the funds were transferred to the Central Bank of Nigeria’. “These recoveries are transparently and judiciously deployed in supporting indigent Nigerians as specified in the agreement signed with the Switzerland and the World Bank.” “In line with the 2020 Asset Return Agreement, the fund has been transferred to a Central Bank of Nigeria Asset Recovery designated account and would be paid to the National Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) within the next fourteen days. “The NSIA is responsible for the management and execution of the projects to which the funds will be applied’’. Newsmen report that the recovered funds were allegedly laundered through the U.S. banking system and then held in some bank accounts in the Bailiwick of Jersey.