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We Can’t Find Any More Information On Abacha Loot – World Bank

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Abacha loot

The World Bank has told Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) that it “cannot locate any additional information on the projects executed with recovered stolen public funds by the late General Sani Abacha.”

According to the response sent to SERAP, the World Bank Access to Information Appeal Committee said, “In response to your request under case number AI4288 (related to your initial request case number AI3982), we wish to inform you that we have thoroughly searched our records and databases but have not been able to locate any additional information that is responsive to your request beyond what we have already shared with you. Therefore, we are unable to fulfill your request.”

World Bank last year asked for more time to release details on the spending of recovered loot by Abacha.

This followed the bank’s decision to refer portion of appeal by SERAP to the Bank Archives Unit for processing for public access.

The Bank’s request for more time followed the appeal SERAP lodged with the Bank on 5 February 2016 on the ground that the Bank’s decision on its initial request did not reveal “important portions of the information requested on how Abacha loot was spent.”

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But dissatisfied with the failure of the Bank to locate additional information, SERAP has now sent an open letter to the Bank’s president Dr. Jim Yong Kim, requesting him to use his “good offices and leadership position to urgently address the public perception that the World Bank is seeking to distance itself from responsibility over alleged mismanagement in the spending of recovered Abacha loot.”

Specifically, the organization asked Dr Kim to “establish a Special Inspection Panel on Nigeria to visit locations across the country to verify whether or not the projects reportedly executed by the Nigerian government with the funds were actually executed.”

In the letter dated 28 April 2017 and signed by SERAP deputy director Timothy Adewale, the organization expressed concern that “the apparent lack of transparency and accountability in the spending of recovered Abacha loot and the fact that the Bank has now come to the conclusion that it has no more information to provide on the status of the projects reportedly executed with the funds have impacted negatively on the communities across the country who are victims of corruption.”

The organization argued that, “Using technicalities under the Bank’s Access to Information Policy to refuse to answer outstanding questions on the projects reportedly executed with recovered Abacha loot would leave communities across the country that have been negatively affected by the mismanagement of the funds without any effective remedies.”

The letter read in part: “Getting to the root of how Abacha loot was spent would demonstrate that the World Bank is willing to put people first in the implementation of its development and governance policies and mandates, as well as remove any suspicion of the Bank’s complicity in the alleged mismanagement of the recovered public funds.

“There would be an acute risk that the Bank’s on-going and future role in supervising and monitoring of spending of recovered stolen public funds would be questioned and may be legally challenged for lacking transparency and accountability.

“SERAP believes that given its supervisory and monitoring roles in the spending of the recovered Abacha loot, the World Bank ought to do much more to clarify outstanding questions regarding the status of projects reportedly executed with the funds. It is vital that the Bank is able to show that it is up to the task whenever it takes up the responsibility of supervising and monitoring the spending of recovered funds in Nigeria and elsewhere across the world.

“SERAP also believes that the Bank ought to have classified the execution of the projects by the Nigerian government as high or substantial risk especially given the prevalent of corruption in the country, and exercised due diligence including by keeping proper records on the conditions of projects supervised and monitored by the Bank.

“Any failure to take decisive action to uncover what exactly happened to the projects reportedly executed by recovered Abacha loot which the Bank volunteered to supervise and monitor would shed a bad light on the World Bank, undermine its goal of alleviating poverty, and may mark the demise of transparency and accountability at the Bank.

“The proposed inspection panel on Nigeria should be able to ask appropriate questions from the authorities and engage with the communities affected by the alleged mismanagement of the recovered funds. This process would help to enhance compliance on the ground with the Bank’s safeguards and thereby bolstering the Bank’s accountability under its policies.

“The panel should also undertake a full investigation into whether there has been a serious failure by the Bank supervisors and monitors to observe its operational policies and procedures regarding the execution of projects with recovered Abacha loot; the role played by any government officials including in the Ministry of Finance, and the material adverse effects on communities across the country.

“Communities that have been affected by the apparent mismanagement of recovered Abacha loot should receive from the Bank proper and adequate compensation as well as community-based development benefits such as education, sanitation systems, health care, and community services (particularly for the elderly, mothers and children), access to clean water, access to livelihoods, and other locally determined remedial measures. SERAP considers this is a basic corrective justice, and it is the bare minimum required in the circumstances.

“SERAP also urges you to adopt and implement a Transparency Charter with respect to your ongoing and future supervisory and monitoring duties on the spending of recently recovered Abacha loot in order to ensure the integrity of the process of project execution. SERAP believes that the Bank’s goals of promoting transparency, accountability and the rule of law in countries would gain more credibility and respect if the Bank can lead by example particularly in its supervisory and monitoring role of spending of recovered stolen public funds.

“SERAP hopes that the World Bank would act as requested. However, take notice that should the Bank fail and/or neglect to take the steps recommended, the Registered Trustees of SERAP would pursue appropriate international and national legal actions to ensure transparency and accountability in this matter.”

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Adesina Wins African Of The Year Award

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Adesina

African Development Bank President Dr Akinwumi Adesina received the African of the Year Award from the All Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLA™), Thursday night, in recognition of his bold leadership and the innovation of the Africa Investment Forum which “opened up billions of dollars of investment into the continent.”

The ninth edition of the awards, organized by AABLA™ in conjunction with CNBC Africa, seeks to honour leaders who have contributed and shaped the African economy.

The Africa Investment Forum (https://AfricaInvestmentForum.com/), inaugurated in 2018, has been a trailblazer in tilting investments into the continent. The second edition of the Forum which was held in Johannesburg, South Africa ended on 13 November. It was attended by over 2,000 delegates and secured investor interest worth $40.1 billion – up from $37.1 billion the previous year.

“It is indeed a great honour,” Dr Adesina said in remarks during the exclusive gala dinner held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, at which the awards were announced. Adesina added that he was overwhelmed to follow in the footsteps of his “big brother” President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, who won the award in 2018. “My heartbeat is to serve the people of Africa,” Adesina said.

The event was attended by an A-list of business leaders, government representatives including David Makhura, Premier of Guateng Province, who gave the opening address. The event also attracted some of South Africa’s leading personalities. Vibrant music was provided by The Muses, a south African all-female string quartet and “Dr Victor And The Rasta Rebels.”

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The awards are decided by a jury of continent-wide judges led by Sam Bhembe, CNBC Africa Non-Executive Director, following evaluation of a shortlist of finalists to determine the overall category winners.

Bhembe said the award reflected how the winner would “shape the future of the African continent,” and that the winner would brace the cover of a special edition of Forbes Africa.

In other categories of the 2019 awards, Nigerian Co-Founder of Kobo360, Obi Ozor won Young Business Leader of the Year; Naspers CEO: South Africa, Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa took the Business Woman of the Year award; while Nedbank, won the Company of the Year award.

Adesina dedicated his award “to the people of Africa who inspire me… I do not work alone.” He also said it was very rewarding to be at the helm “of an organisation that paves the way to progress.” Enditem

SOURCE: African Development Bank Group (AfDB)

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Nigeria Earned N275bn From VAT In Q3 — NBS

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The country earned a total of N275.12 billion from Value Added Tax in the third quarter of this year, figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics have revealed.

The NBS in its VAT report which was released on Monday said the N275.12 billion earnings represents a decline of N36.82 billion when compared with the N311.94 billion generated in the second quarter.

The report stated that during the period, professional services generated the highest amount of VAT with N32.09 billion.

This is closely followed by other manufacturing which generated N30.27 billion; while commercial and trading activities generated N14.47 billion.

It added that mining generated the least and it was closely followed by textile and garment industry, pharmaceutical, soaps and toiletries with N44.30 million, N253.83 million and N291.06 million generated respectively

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The report stated that out of the total amount generated in 2019, N150.74 billion was generated as Non-Import VAT locally while N63 billion was generated as Non-Import VAT for foreign. The balance of N61.37 billion was generated as NCS-Import VAT.

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Dangote Refinery Takes Delivery Of World’s Largest Crude Distillation Column Equipment

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The world’s largest crude distillation column equipment designed for crude oil processing for Dangote Refinery has arrived Lagos, its location, Business Day reports.

The Crude Distillation Column is the largest in terms of distilling capacity which is 650 thousand barrels per stream day. Rajen Sachar, Head, Maritime and Ports Infrastructure of Dangote, told newsmen during the arrival of the facility in Lagos on Sunday that the equipment is the biggest single-train facility used for refining crude.

The equipment weighs 2250MT. It is 112.5m long, 14.036m wide, and 13.752m high.

The above-mentioned weight does not include the weight of the internal trays which is approx. 536 MT.

It is the largest diameter, longest length and the heaviest single-unit equipment in domestic export equipment, Sachar said.

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”It will be installed in the world’s largest single-series refinery – the 32.5 million tonne/year Dangote refinery in Nigeria.

”It will be installed in the world’s largest single-series refinery – the 32.5 million tonne/year Dangote refinery in Nigeria,” he explained.

The refinery equipment which was manufactured by Sinopec in China is the primary unit processor of crude oil into fuels.

He said that crude oil processor took 14 months in construction by Sinopec company in China and eight weeks to bring it down to Nigeria.

Sachar said the crude oil consists of various chemical components that have different molecular sizes, molecular weights, and boiling temperatures.

He added that the crude distillation column works on the principle of fractional distillation leading to separation of various components in the mixture on the basis of their different boiling points.

”Crude oil enters the top of the column, where the inlet temperature is 165 °C, gradually increasing to 357 °C at the bottom of the column.

“During this passage the crude and its vapours pass through a complex web of internal trays to increase the contact time and surface area within the column with the hot vapours travelling upwards through bubble caps which allow the vapour to pass through the tray with

the cooler liquid flowing downward the column.

“When the vapour reaches the height within the column where its boiling point is equal to the temperature of the column at that height it condenses to form a liquid.

“The liquid then collects on various trays in the column at differing heights from where it is extracted out of the column.

“It is therefore critical to control the heat load of the column to optimize the crude crack.

“These separated fractions are mainly middle distillates namely, Naphtha, Jet Fuel, Kerosene, Gasoline and Gas Oil,” Sachar added.

The company’s captain said that the refinery when completed will produce Euro-V quality gasoline and diesel, as well as jet fuel and polypropylene.

He said that the crude column will enhance the Nigerian economy and all neighbouring countries in Africa by making available refined petroleum products meeting world standards emission norms of Euro 5 and Euro 6.

The captain said the strategic location of Nigeria in West Africa will help in reducing the transportation costs of these fuels to other countries in the African subcontinent.

“Thereby providing cost-effective, high-grade petroleum products to them.

“This Refinery with a capacity of 650 kbpsd is higher than the total demand of Nigeria, thus catapulting Nigeria’s position from a net importer of petroleum products to a net exporter,” he said.

He said the technology would bring positive multiplier effect to the company and Nigeria through supply to a large market. Sachar added that the project was expected to generate over 9,500 direct and 25,000 indirect jobs.

”We decided to ship it through vessel from China to avoid it being damage and also to avoid traffic congestion if using roads from Apapa.

”Dangote refinery also invested heavily in dredging to sea from refinery to Apapa for easy passage of the vessel.

He said that the President of the company, Alhaji Aliko Dangote is passionate about technology transfer to Nigerians, adding that he has given a standing instruction to train seven Nigerians be ship Captains.

Sachar said Dangote Oil Refinery Company is currently training about 150 young Nigerian engineers in Indian on refinery operations in preparation for the take-off of its Lagos refinery and petrochemical plant. The engineers are currently undergoing training Mumbai, India, he said.

The training is a continuum as more engineers would be trained to work effectively in the fertilizer plant and refinery being built by the company, Sachar added.

In his remarks, Lawal Fagbo Saheed, Pilot Grade 1 of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), commended the vessel crew who brought it from China, adding that it took seven hours to drive the vessel from Apapa to Dangote Refinery due to the heavy equipment.

According to Saheed, “It took an experienced and patient pilot to move the vessel to the final destination due to sea waves.

”We are happy today that am also part of progress and am proud to be associated with such landmark achievement.

(BD)

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