Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The House of Representatives, yesterday, resolved to investigate how successive governments from 1998 to date have utilised monies recovered from the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha.
The investigation, which will be carried out by an Ad-hoc Committee, is to cover the tenures of General Abdusalami Abubakar, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Dr Goodluck Jonathan and the incumbent administration.
The Ad-hoc committee is to ascertain the exact amount so far recovered from the former head of state, where the monies were recovered from, the amount paid for legal services if any, and how balance of the funds were utilised.
The committee which also mandated to identify all the agreements signed by the government as part of efforts to recover the loot and ascertain if such agreements were in tandem with the 1999 constitution (as amended), is expected to report back to the House within six weeks for further legislative actions.
This is sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored under matters of urgent public importance by Sunday Kirimi on plans by the executive to share $322 million, being the last tranche of the Abacha, from Switzerland, without recourse to the National Assembly.
Leading debate on the motion entitled: ‘Urgent need to stop the executive from expending the last tranche of the Abacha loot or and recovered loot without parliamentary approval,’ Karimi observed that the government has reportedly entered into an agreement with the government of Switzerland to share the $322 million to poor Nigerians across some states in the country.
Special Adviser to the President on Justice Reforms, Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu was reported to have said that in line with the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Switzerland and the Nigerian government, the $322 million will be paid directly to the accounts of the poorest Nigerians without recourse to the National Assembly.
The lawmaker (Yagba East/Yagba West/Mopamuro – PDP) said it was not the business of the Switzerland government to tell the country what to do with its money, which was stashed away by previous government, noting that the parliament is the only body empowered by the country’s constitution to determine how funds should be appropriated.
Karimi prayed the House to insist that the $322 million should be paid into the consolidated revenue fund, as prescribed by the constitution and shared among the three tiers of government, using the current revenue sharing formula.