There is a balance of $26m and £19 million in the Abacha loot accounts, the Federal Government said yesterday.
The announcement was made at the end of the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. It was presided over by its Chairman, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
The Abacha loot is the name given to the cash stolen by former military Head of State Gen. Sani Abacha (1993-1998), stashed away in foreign banks which was recovered by the government. Nobody has been able to state exactly how much the former Head of State stole.
The late Gen Abacha is believed to have stolen so much that even the World Bank declared it “too huge to handle”.
The issue of the cash returned to the front burner when former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, admitted that she gave $300m and £5 million from the loot’s accounts to former National Security Adviser (NSA) Col. Smbo Dasuki for arms purchase. She said $700million was being expected.
The money is believed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as part of the cash shared to politicians by the Office of the NSA, for which Dasuki and others, including former Sokoto State Governor Attahiru Bafarawa, are standing trial.
Accountant-General of the Federation Alhaji Ahmed Idris gave the figure in the accounts —as of last month — yesterday.
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom said after the NEC meeting: “We were briefed on the Abacha loot recovery.
“The Accountant-General of the Federation reported that the dollar account as at November 2015 ending has a balance of $26 million while the pound sterling has a balance of 19 million and 33 pounds.
“So that is where we are as at today.’’
Ortom also said the Accountant-General briefed the NEC on the remittances of naira equivalent of foreign exchange remittances made into some revenue generating agencies, adding that the incidents were further being looked into.
He said the practice was not allowed and that the Federal Ministry of Finance was working out the details which would be forwarded to NEC.
Taraba State Governor Darius Ishaku said the Accountant –General said the excess crude account stood at $2.26 billion and yielded an interest of $599.14 million as at November 2015
“The Accountant General of the Federation reported to council that the Excess crude account stood at $2.257 billion as at the end of November 2015.
“He also reported a slight change against the previous balance with an interest, which is due of $599,137,467 into the account as accrued interest.’’
Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal said Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele, briefed the council on the updates in policy measures being adopted by the government to stabilise the economy.
He said the drop oil price caused a lot of pressure on the foreign reserve, which stood at $29 billion.
Tambuwal said the CBN chief added that the apex bank reduced the cash reserve ratio from 25 per cent to 20 per cent.
He also mentioned the regulatory measures on the parallel market, introduction of the Bank Verification Number (BVN) and the proposal to introduce debit cards for travellers instead of cash exchange demand to reduce the buying of dollar cash for illicit businesses.
He mentioned the measures being taken by the CBN to diversify the economy.
Minister of Budget and National Planning Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma said his ministry made a presentation on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) for the next three years.
According to him, the presentation urged the states to adopt the MTEF and the FSP as the basis for developing their annual budgets.
He said the states should be guided by the assumptions in the economic plan and also be conservative in their revenue and expenditure plans for 2016 due to the dwindling oil revenue.
The minister stressed the need for closer collaboration between the Federal Government and the 36 states in the management of the nation’s economy.