Senate’s Rejection of $30 billion Loan Should Challenge Buhari – Femi Falana

Femi Falana
Human rights lawyer has challenged the Nigerian
government to take the rejection of the $30 billon (N9.61
trillion) loan request by the Senate as a challenge to
review the recovery of the nation’s looted wealth.





In a statement on Tuesday, Mr. Falana said the decision of
the Senate to turn down the borrowing plan should spur
investigation into the criminal diversion of billions of
dollars from the Federation Account.
The Senate on Tuesday rejected Mr. Buhari’s request to
borrow $29.9 billion as part of its external borrowing plan
for 2016 to 2018, asking for all relevant documents to be
submitted.
“A few months ago, I had urged the Minister of Finance to
embark on an aggressive recovery policy,” said Mr.
Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
“Apart from acknowledging the letter and assuring me that
the letter was receiving attention no measure has been put
in place to recover the looted wealth of the nation.
“In frustration I was compelled to submit a petition to the
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to recover the
fund and prosecute the indicted individuals and corporate
organisations.”
Mr. Falana said his petition led to a former Central Bank
governor demanding an apology for saying that he gave
out a loan of $7 billion to 14 banks sometime in 2006.
“Since he admitted that the money was a ‘deposit’ and not
a loan I rejected his demand for apology,” he said.
“More so that the $7 billion and the bailout of $4 billion
given to the same banks in 2008 have not been refunded.
“Curiously, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria
has not demanded the repayment of the said sum of $11
billion from the banks.”
The Senate’s rejection came despite the support of
Nigeria’s Debt Management Office for an approval of the
loan to help address the huge infrastructure deficit across
the country.
But Mr. Falana insisted that if efforts were intensified to
recover the billions of dollars looted or diverted from the
Federation Account, the government would not need to
plunge the nation into “another toxic debt”.
“I have also just confirmed that one of telecommunication
companies operating in the country recently engaged in
money laundering and successfully but illegally transferred
the sum of over $25 billion out of Nigeria,” Mr. Falana
said.
“Since the Money Laundering Act, 2011, as amended,
requires that the entire proceeds of the crime be forfeited
to the Federal Government, it is hoped that the highly
placed public individuals involved in the criminal enterprise
will not compromise the interests of the nation this time
around.”

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