Okonjo-Iweala Admits Transfering $322 million Abacha Loot To Ex-NSA Dasuki
Former Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala yesterday confirmed that she approved the transfer of $322 million Abacha loot to former National Security Adviser (NSA) Sambo Dasuki to prosecute the fight against Boko Haram.
She however said the approval of the fund was meant to be a loan.
In a statement issued on her behalf by Paul Nwabuikwu, her spokesman, Okonjo-Iweala described Oshiomole’s allegation as “falsehood”, alleging that he was conniving with “powerful and corrupt interests” to tarnish her reputation.
She said that Samdo Dasuki, former national security adviser (NSA), was part of a committee that deliberated on the use of repatriated funds looted by the late Sani Abacha, and that he requested for the deployment of about $322m for the military operations, which she processed after receiving assurances that the money would be well-managed.
“Some new Abacha funds of about $322 million were returned with another $700m still expected to be returned. Former President (Goodluck) Jonathan set up a Committee comprising 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.”
Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala stated that based on the urgency of the NSA’s memo, she requested former President Goodluck Jonathan “to approve the transfer of the requested amount to the NSA’s Office for the specified purposes.”
Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, referring to the meeting’s memo, said 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 and 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.
“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.”