The presidency has said that $311 million loot by the late former military Head of State, General Sani Abacha, which was repatriated to the country, had been paid directly to contractors for various jobs executed for the government.
The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Public Affairs, Ajuri Ngelale, said this during a virtual town hall meeting hosted on Twitter. According to him, the direct payment was to prevent the National Assembly and the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) from diverting the money.
The federal government had in May received $311,797,866.11 as part of the recovered assets of the former military dictator. The fund, which was repatriated from the United States and the Bailiwick of Jersey, was committed to expediting the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Abuja-Kano road, and the Second Niger Bridge.
“So you have three major projects under the PIDF that we have been able to fund directly to the contractor through the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).
And Nigerians have seen the truth of that, we don’t have to boast about it or talk about it because they can see it. Whether it’s a Second Niger Bridge, whether it’s the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway or whether it’s the Abuja-Kano, they know the work that is going on, it’s not in dispute.
And because of the structure of the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund conceived by President Muhammadu Buhari, nobody, no middleman can put his finger on a kobo of that money on $1 of that money.
And, of course, we’ve been able to further galvanise other funding inputs from, of course, the Abacha loot, signing deals with the with the US government and the Jersey authorities to ensure that $311 million was put back into those three projects, with each project taking about $103 million or 33.3 per cent of the total Abacha loot that was sent back.
So, that’s another one where we’ve been able to mobilise private and public financing to be able to directly get this money into the hands of contractors straight without National Assembly diversion, without MDAs diversion, and all of that.” he said