The House of Representatives Wednesday resolved to investigate the value of all funds recovered from foreign accounts operated by late military head of state, Gen. Sani Abacha from 1998 till date.
To this end, the House resolved to set-up an adhoc committee to investigate the fund recovered so far, sources of these funds, how the funds were utilised.
The committee is also expected to examine all agreements and memorandums of understanding entered into by the federal government and determine whether or not these agreements are binding under the constitution.
The member representing Yagba East / Yagba West / Mopa-muro federal constituency of Kogi state, Hon Karimi Sunday, had in a motion of urgent national importance, titled; ‘urgent need to stop the executive from expending the last trade of the Abacha loot or and recovered loot without parliamentary approval,’ urged the House to determine the detailed and how the funds were spent.
He urged the House ensure that the sum of $322 million to be released by the government of Switzerland, should be distributed to the federating units in-line with the current revenue sharing formula.
Karimi also urged that government should come-up with a supplementary appropriation bill to earmark the funds due to it from the Abacha loots recovery for the completion of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex.
According to Karimi, the Executive arm of government should immediately present to the National Assembly the accumulated release from the recovered loo and how the fund has been expended.
But the member representing Kiru Bebeji federal constituency of Kano state, Abdulmumin Jibrin sponsored an amendment to the motion.
Jibrin noted that all the funds recovered from Abacha’s foreign account should be determined, and all agreement reviewed so as to enable the motion achieve its desired goal.
According to Jibrin, the funds termed as Abacha loot has been in the news since 1998/1999 and the country cannot specifically mentioned how much has been recovered so far.
“Since 1998/1999, when I was in the university, we have heard different stories about the recovered funds. We don’t know what has been released to the government, and what it was used for. If we don’t investigate and determine the amount, Dollar to Dollar, Pound to Pounds, Euro to Euro, Naira to Naira to the last kobo, we will not be doing justice to this motion,” Jibrin said.
Karimi had in the motion noted that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami ( SAN), signed an agreement on behalf of the government of the federation on the release of the last tranche of the $322 million belonging to Nigeria.
According to Karimi, Special Adviser to the the President on Justice Reforms, Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagu reportedly said the $322 would be paid directly to the account of the poorest Nigerians, without recourse to the National Assembly.
He however observed that such decision negates the provision of section 12(1) of the constitution, which states that; ‘no treaty between the Federation and any other country shall have the force of law to the extent to which any such treaty has been enacted into law by the National Assembly.’
“Consequently, no agreement or memorandum of understanding purportedly signed by the federal government with the Switzerland government an have any force of law in Nigeria, except approved and enacted by the National Assembly,” Karimi said.
He stated further that by the virtue of sectio 80(1-3), all revenue raised ad received by the federal government shall be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund, unle the issue of such fund has bee authorised by the National Assembly.
“As a result, no monies can paid or expended without National Assembly’s approval,” he stated.
Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Crimes, Hon Kayode Oladele, in his contribution noted that the government could have signed the agreement and later revert to the National Assembly for parliamentary approval.
Chairman, House Committee on Public Petitions, Nkem Abonta, who supported Karimi’s motion, urged his colleagues to ensure that the constitution is protected, by supporting the motion.
“I support this motion and I want to urge every member here to support it, so as to protect our laws. A departure from the law, no matter how well intended will negate the principle of rule of law, laws are meant to be obeyed,” Abonta said.
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