Godwin Tsa Abuja
A coalition of eighteen Civil Society Organisations have applied to monitor how the Federal Government will spend the repatriated sum of $311 million allegedly looted by the late former Head of State, General Sani Abacha.
The money was recently repatriated to the country from the United States of America and the Bailiwick of Jersey.
Their applications for the monitoring exercise were yesterday opened at a bidding process put in place by the Federal Ministry of Justice in collaboration with the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).
The groups that successfully entered their applications were Triump Oil & Gas Ltd, International Action Center, GPM Associates, Phenai Consults Ltd/Africa In Foundation Infrastructure, CLEEN Foundation, Olotu Lekan F. & Co, Anti-Corruption and Research-Based Data Initiative, Public & Private Development Center, PPP Advisory Consortium, Center For Social Justice.
The rest are: Arewa Community and Social Development Network in Nigeria, Quadrante, IBLF Global, Restitution Impact Limited, Urban Projects Prospects Integrate Services Ltd, Foundation for Public-Private Partnerships, and Global Society for Anti-Corruption. Head of the BPE team, Nasir Bello, explained that groups that pass through the technical bid review procedure would be invited to participate in the financial bid phase.
He further disclosed that while 12 out of the 17 listed groups submitted hardcopy applications, five of them made their entry through softcopy applications that were received via email.
Applications by 17 of the groups were accessed and accepted for review by the Committee, while one of the groups was however disqualified in view of the fact that its application was received around 12:30 pm, which was 30 minutes after the stipulated submission period had elapsed.
Speaking earlier, Head of Assets Recovery Unit of the Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Ladidi Mohammed, the open bidding process was part of conditions precedent put in place by the US government and the Island of Jersey before the money was returned to Nigeria.
She disclosed that the negotiation for the return of the looted funds spanned over two years with a final agreement that CSOs would be involved to monitor the implementation of projects the repatriated fund will be used for, was reached.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, had earlier indicated that the repatriated fund will be channeled towards expediting the construction of three major infrastructure projects across Nigeria, namely: The Lagos – Ibadan Expressway, Abuja-Kano Road and The Second Niger Bridge. He said FG was in the process of establishing a project monitoring team to oversee the implementation of the projects and to regularly give progress reports to the public.