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Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala denies involvement in Abacha Loot Funds Diversion to Dasuki

BellaNaija.com

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Okonjo Dasuki 3In an official statement released by Paul C Nwabuikwu, Media Adviser to Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. The former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy denied any involvement in so called “diversion” of recovered Abacha funds.

Yesterday, Premium Times published an exclusive report stating

The immediate past Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, illegally approved the transfer of at least N61.4 billion ($300 million and £5.5 million) from funds recovered from late dictator, Sani Abacha, to the Office of the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, few weeks to the 2015 presidential election, PREMIUM TIMES can authoritatively report today.

The former Minister signed off on the transfer but then closed her eyes to how the funds were spent, requesting then President Goodluck Jonathan to directly demand accountability from Mr. Dasuki, according to documents seen by this newspaper.

Read the full statement.

As part of the campaign of falsehood against former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala by Edo Governor, Adams Oshiomhole and other powerful and corrupt interests, another baseless story has been published by some online media. To achieve their evil propaganda objective of tarnishing her name, these evil elements have distorted the contents of a memo dated January 20, 2015 in which the former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala responded to a request by the former National Security Adviser, Col Ibrahim Dasuki (retired) for funds to prosecute the terror war against Boko Haram.

Here are the facts:
· The central responsibility of the Minister of Finance IS to find sources of funding for the financing of approved national priorities such as security, job creation and infrastructure.

· It will be recalled that throughout 2014, there were public complaints by the military hierarchy to President Goodluck Jonathan about the inadequacy of funds to fight the anti-terror war in the North East, resulting in Boko Haram making gains and even taking territories. A lot of the criticism was directed at the Federal Ministry of Finance under Dr Okonjo-Iweala which was accused of not doing enough to find funds for the operations.

· In fact, the Ministry, on several occasions, had to call press conferences to provide details of budgetary spending on the military, to show, against the background of limited resources and other urgent national priorities, that it was doing its best on funding security.

· It was about this time that some new Abacha funds of about $322m were returned with another $700m still expected to be returned. (This is not to be confused with the Abacha funds returned in 2005-2006 under the Obasanjo government whose use for developmental purposes was monitored by the World Bank as earlier explained by Dr Okonjo-Iweala).

· Former President Jonathan set up a Committee comprising of the former Minister of Justice, former NSA and the former Minister of Finance to determine how best to use both the returned and expected funds for development.

· The NSA made a case for using the returned funds for urgent security operations since, he noted, there cannot be any development without peace and security. Based on this, a decision was taken to deploy about $322m for the military operations, while the expected $700m would be applied for development programmes as originally conceived.

· Following the discussions and based on the urgency of the NSA’s memo, Dr Okonjo-Iweala requested the President to approve the transfer of the requested amount to the NSA’s Office for the specified purposes.

· But, as captured in the memo, she insisted on three conditions: a. only a part, not the entire Abacha funds would be spent on the arms; the rest would be invested in developmental projects as originally conceived b. the money was to be treated as borrowed funds which would be paid back as soon as possible c. the NSA’s office was to account for the spending to the President who was the Commander in Chief, given the fact that the Minister of Finance is not part of the security architecture and does not participate in the Security Council.

· The attempt to link the former Minister’s name to any misuse of these funds for any purpose other than security as far as she understood it is totally false and cannot stand.

16 Comments

  1. mrs chidukane

    December 10, 2015 at 9:31 am

    322 million dollars, Chei! With more on the way? And Abacha’s kids still have hand to write essays and GEJ had mind to give him award? Smh

    • Josephine

      December 10, 2015 at 12:16 pm

      You took the words right out of my mouth.

  2. Ama

    December 10, 2015 at 9:49 am

    Someone should please help me beg this woman to wait till she is asked questions before making all these lame excuses. You are a woman, a mother, a Chritsian supposedly and maybe some people’s matriarch yet so much injustice happened under your watch while you played the ostrich. You saw how funds meant to aid those who left families for the battle front were squandered while they faced charges of mutiny yet you pretended not to see. You aided injustice, you betrayed the trust of the people and you facilitated looting. You and all your cohorts who plundered this nation will certainly have your day. Know that there is God in heaven and though loving, is also a CONSUMING FIRE!

  3. Ehiwarior

    December 10, 2015 at 10:08 am

    STILL ON OKONJO-IWEALA’S PUSILLANIMITY

    However hard you try, you can’t avoid finding faults with former Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Admittedly, not even her worst enemy can dispute her technical competence. But that is where it ends. I cannot vouch for her principles or moral courage. Looking the other way when things were going wrong, and refusing to resign to protect your principles(if you have them) is not my idea of integrity. Appending your signature to something you knew was illegal is not my idea of integrity either. Reputation is so precious that you must defend it with your life. From the 20 billion dollars unaccounted NNPC revenues to current dirty revelations about arms purchase scandals, and the expenditure of the recovered Abacha loot, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala comes across as a woman who values power and glory more than principles. When your courage crumbles before crooks, you cannot lay claim to any principles.

    Na-Allah Mohammed Zagga

    • Lagos is my home

      December 10, 2015 at 11:49 am

      WELL SAID AND you said it all ……………. She no angel in the midst of the devil, she just as rotten as the rest . A person will principle will not constantly sign a doggy deals instead will resign and walk away . Our leaders have looted the treasury with no shame, I am just so glad GEJ did not win another 4 years, we would have been totally ruined

    • Different Shades of Nigerian

      December 10, 2015 at 3:09 pm

      How was she to know it was a dodgy deal. The country was on fire! The military needed to act fast, I know you all think $322 million is huge, check out what US spends on security ($598 billion!!!) It is not a typo, they spends billions not millions. We are not the United States but we do not produce arms, we import them and they cost a lot! Given the state of the country at that time, this woman competently sourced for funds as she ought to. That is her job and she did it, if an idiot embezzled the fund. Hold that person accountable

    • ogeAdiro

      December 10, 2015 at 4:24 pm

      What is illegal about the way she released this $322 million? You want her to be finance minister and attorney general combined? Some of you need to stop with all this misinformation. Everyone including Sanusi knows how the 20 billion was spent. There is nothing unaccounted for with regards to that 20 billion. From the little that I remember and know, NNPC said they used 80% of the 20 billion for kerosene subsidy and Sanusi said that was illegal because there was a 2009 presidential directive removing the kerosene subsidy. NNPC said that the presidency wasn’t clear with it’s directive on the subsidy issue and importers refused to touch kerosene without the subsidy. Faced with a potential kerosene crisis in Nigeria, they (NNPC) left the subsidy in place. I believe that case is still in court. The remaining 20% was used to pay some local Nigerian oil companies. I believe that’s the part that implicates Dieziani. All of this should still be on Youtube.
      These people might not be saints but let’s talk with some sense.

  4. Hamdalat

    December 10, 2015 at 11:50 am

    El Rufai summarized it well in his book that Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala is a student of power and that is her Achilles heel. No one is perfect, she cant escape this………………all that hard work, for what? to be rubbished because you desperately wanted your government in power. What is it with Nigerians, why are we always to be found morally wanting? Disappointed by another “supposed”role model..

  5. Ajayi Oluwafemi

    December 10, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    some mothers watch other people’ children dead due to there selfish intrest, yet they want a better life children….Nmmmm, I wonder how God will judge this. There is God OOooo!

  6. rain

    December 10, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    Okonjo Iweala is innocent and Yes she has to defend her name . All the efforts by this administration to rope her in has failed

  7. Different Shades of Nigerian

    December 10, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    The problem I see with our generation is our lack of basic understanding on how the government works and it isnt our fault, such education has been removed from our curriculum. Expecting this woman to be accountable for funds used by military is baseless. Her roles and responsiblities starts and ends somewhere, she was not the president of Nigeria. We had a weak and incompetent president (and we still do), the way this current administration is working hard to tarnish this woman’s image tells me she must have stepped on powerful toes. I love that she has a team that responds to every baseless claim but Nigerians are desperate to crucify someone and it has to be her and not the clueless leader they voted for 5 years ago who had no shoes and now most are defending another incompetent leader. The problem with Nigeria is Nigerians

    • jane

      December 10, 2015 at 3:08 pm

      The problem is with you defending rubbish . SHe is accountable for how funds are disbursed. What is she finance minster for . She signed a lot of shady deals and you think she didn’t know it was wrong .
      In you lies the problem

    • Different Shades of Nigerian

      December 10, 2015 at 4:43 pm

      Jane, while you are at it. Why not hold her accountable for your governors performance. Afterall she should be responsible for the funds she disbursed to your state government. Your comment buttresses my point. But you are right, she is responsible for HOW funds are disbursed. It would have been utterly foolish of her to allocate that $322 milliom to agriculture while northern Nigerian was on fire

    • ElessarisElendil

      December 10, 2015 at 6:52 pm

      It pains me that I’m agreeing with you, but so far PMB has been below my expectations. Personally, I blame this “reformed democrat” nonsense. Funny how people are sweeping under the carpet that the Oga at the top let his marshals mess the nation up.

      Also to be fair, you’re making it seem like we’ve had any excellent choices in the history of our democracy.

  8. okay

    December 10, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    I do not support any political party, because all government officials are corrupt. They are two sides of the same coin. The hunter will always become the hunted in Nigeria. Excluding this facts, this government goes for sensationalism over substance. What is the point of throwing theories in the air without proof. Over the months every body is just estimating billions that has been stolen, the truth is that if you add up all these billion that people are insinuating from oshiomole, elrufai and sanusi IT IS JUST NOT POSSIBLE TO STEAL THAT MUCH. All governments in Nigeria have been stealing money and will continue to steal . GEJ might have funded PDP, but then again who is funding APC now?. All governments in power fund their respective parties. if dasuki and the office of the nsa, was needed to fund the PDP, who funded APC??. This people rely on the fact that Nigerians are fickle minded and go with the wind. Buhari should deliver all his promises(which he will never do) and persecute this “thieves” via the court and not be giving statements when they haven’t been found guilty yet.

    • ElessarisElendil

      December 10, 2015 at 6:54 pm

      *Sigh* You realise it was/has been the Newspapers bandying figures around and senstionalisng everything. The Presidency has not commented since the Dasuki reveal.

      Are we blaming the President for the stupidity of the Nigerian press now? I can’t keep up with you guys.

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