Direct AGF to probe missing $3.4bn IMF loan, SERAP to Tinubu

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has called on President Bola Tinubu to direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, and appropriate anti-corruption agencies to promptly probe the allegations that $3.4 billion loan obtained from the International Monetary Fund, IMF, is missing, diverted or unaccounted for.

SERAP also urged Tinubu to ensure that, “anyone suspected to be responsible should face prosecution as appropriate, if there is sufficient admissible evidence, and any missing IMF loan should be fully recovered and returned to the public treasury.”

In the letter dated February 3, 2024, by SERAP’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “There is a legitimate public interest in ensuring justice and accountability for these serious allegations. Taking these important measures would end the impunity of perpetrators.”

The 2020 annual audited report published last week by the Auditor-General of the Federation documents damning revelations including that there was no document to show the movement and spending of the IMF loan.

SERAP’s letter read: “Servicing IMF loan that is allegedly missing, diverted or unaccounted for is double jeopardy for Nigerians—they can neither see nor benefit from the projects for which the loan was approved; yet, they are made to pay both the loan and accrued interests.

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“Any failure to investigate these grave allegations, bring suspected perpetrators to justice and recover any missing IMF loan would have serious resource allocation and exacerbate the country’s debt burden.

“We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall consider appropriate legal actions to compel your government to comply with our request in the public interest.

“The Auditor-General recommends that the money be fully recovered and remitted to the public treasury and those suspected to be involved ‘sanctioned and handed over to anticorruption agencies’.

“The allegations of corruption in the spending of IMF loan documented by the Auditor-General undermine economic development of the country, trap the majority of Nigerians in poverty and deprive them of opportunities.

“The allegations suggest a grave violation of the public trust, the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended), the country’s anticorruption legislation and international anticorruption obligations including under the UN Convention against Corruption.”

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