Okonjo-Iweala Helped Jonathan Loot Stolen Funds Oshiomhole Insists, EFCC To Summon Ex-minister
However, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State yesterday continued his verbal assault on former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, as the governor alleged that the ex-minister only helped the past administration to loot funds.
Oshiomhole who was the guest speaker at a dialogue session that was co-organised by the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, and the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, in Abuja yesterday to commemorate the International Human Rights Day, urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to spare the former Minister who he branded “Ali Baba”.
The Edo State governor spoke on a topic entitled “Towards Advancing the Right to Social Security Protection in Nigeria”.
Speaking to journalists at the end of his presentation, Oshiomhole, maintained that Okonjo-Iweala has serious questions to answer with regards to what happened to looted funds that were recovered from former military dictator, General Sani Abacha.
He said it was not enough for the former minister to “sit there in Washington”, and say that she “transferred part of the money recovered from Abacha to Dasuki for security purpose”.
“All I am just saying is that we are in a constitutional democracy. We are not under an informal arrangement. When you listen to all the narratives, all the disclosures and defence, you will realise that the Federal Government needs to prosecute everybody, not to exempt anyone.
“For example I have read in the newspapers and online, the former Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy saying that she transferred part of the money recovered from Abacha to Dasuki for security purposes.
“Now, the first question the media should ask is, even under conditions of war, money must be appropriated. The National Assembly, I recall very well, when Aminu Tambuwal was Speaker of the House of Representatives, they reconvened on Sunday in order to attend to an urgent matter submitted by the President. So, the Constitution is very clear.
“Money was looted and foreign countries helped us recover that money and a minister assisted in ensuring that that money is re-looted again. And she is there in Washington and you are here languishing. I am saying that she also must be brought to justice”, the Edo governor said.
Meanwhile, indications emerged last night that the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC),
were set to summon the former Minister of Finance & Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okojo-Iweala and some top officials of the CBN to shed more light on what they know about the arms budget said to have been diverted by bigwigs of one of the political parties.
Also to be invited based on evidence of disbursement from the apex bank, are some serving and retired top officials of the CBN who helped in the disbursement of the arms cash to the beneficiaries.
It was learnt that the decision to summon the former minister and the apex bank officials followed the discovery that the bank played an active part in wiring various sums of money to persons and institutions at home and abroad without paying attention to due process.
It was the gamut of transaction documents from the CBN that has assisted them to trace and arrest the high profile politicians and their cronies, who benefitted from the public funds meant for arms.
A source said: “It is clear from our discovery that some money taken from the Abacha loot was used to secure some arms and fight insurgency but it is also clear that a larger part of the money was diverted and nobody raised an eyebrow.
“We want these people to come and give us further clarifications on why they released the money and who got what and why.”
It was gathered that documents at the CBN have established that the $15 million cash which the office of the NSA ferried for the purchase of arms and was seized by the South African Government was part of the Abacha loot. The country is yet to refund the cash to Nigeria.
It was also learnt that part of the Abacha loot was used to secure the services of mercenaries and guerrillas from some countries to assist in re-taking 22 Nigerian territories in the North-East from Boko Haram.
The government at the time had engaged some of the foreign fighters to train troops in anti-terrorism warfare, intelligence gathering and counter terrorism which enabled them recover the lost territories from the insurgents. In spite of that, it never admitted using any of them for any of its operations.
Already, eight of the suspects have been charged with stealing, money laundering and breach of the Public Procurement Act, while none of them is yet to be released even on bail.