How I Disbursed N64.1 Billion Abacha Loot – Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s Statement in Full

Former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who confirmed on Wednesday, that she approved the transfer of $322 million Abacha loot to former National Security Adviser (NSA) Sambo Dasuki has explained what transpired.

It can be recalled that Premium Times on Wednesday exclusively reported that former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala illegally appropriated N61.4 billion Abacha loot to the office of the National Security Adviser under former NSA Sambo Dasuki, she has now denied having anything to do with the alleged misuse of the arms procurement fund.

In a statement on Wednesday evening by her spokesperson, Paul Nwabuikwu, the former minister said she disbursed the part of the Abacha loot to the NSA office following the recommendation of a committee set up by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

She explained the money was given to the NSA office as a form of a loan to procure arms to fight Boko Haram insurgency after she was accused by the military hierarchy of failing to release fund for the prosecution of the war. She further stated that she had insisted that part of the money should be used for developmental projects.

She accused unnamed people of desperately trying to link her to the alleged misappropriation of the arms procurement funds, which she insists she knows nothing about.

Read the full statement below:

Abuja, December 9, 2015

OKONJO-IWEALA DESCRIBES AS BASELESS ALLEGATIONS OF “ILLEGAL DIVERSION” OF ABACHA FUNDS SAYS THIS LEVEL OF PERSECUTION AND HARRASSMENT UNPRECEDENTED, SIGNALS DANGER OF FIGHTING CORRUPTION IN OFFICE

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.

Paul C Nwabuikwu,

Media Adviser to Dr Okonjo-Iweala.

Comments

comments


To receive updates enter your email
- OR -

Tags:

written by

Dash is an author at www.gistus.com.
Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>