I have nothing to do with $2.1bn arms controversy: Okonjo-Iweala

By The Rainbow
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Former finance minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has described as malicious the attempt by Femi Falana to involve her in the $2.1 billion arms scam, asserting that she had nothing to do with it.

Falana had in a letter to the International Criminal Court (ICC) sought among other things, Okonjo-Iweala's prosecution.

Reacting to the accusation, the former minister, through her media adviser, Paul C. Nwabuikwu, stated that contrary to Falana's lies, she had absolutely nothing to do with the alleged misappropriation of $2.1billion by the office of the former national security adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd).

She insisted that Falana and his sponsors are simply trying to invent a connection where there is none.

According to her, the January 20, 2015 memo in which she sought and received the approval of former President Goodluck Jonathan for the release of part of the newly returned Abacha loot to the NSA for purchase of arms is totally separate from the $2.1 billion issue.

“The memo, which is now in public domain, speaks for itself. The release of the resources was in response to an approval by the former President following a meeting chaired by him after a committee had considered the request.

“The memo clearly documented Okonjo-Iweala's insistence that the proper procedure be followed, subject to appropriation and according to financial regulations.”

Okonjo-Iweala states that she had advised that the former NSA should account for the funds to the former President since she was not a member of the Security Council, adding that the attempt to link her to the $2.1billion issue is therefore dead on arrival.

Also in her response to Falana's claim that billions of dollars of Abacha funds were recovered and that Okonjo-Iweala should account for the recovered funds, the former minister said that some of the funds recovery was done under the regime of General Abdulsalami Abubakar and the first term of President Olusegun Obasanjo when she was not even in government.

“During the time Dr Okonjo-Iweala was Finance Minister in the second Obasanjo administration, $500m was recovered. As documented by the Field Study conducted by the World Bank with the assistance of national and international NGOs, this amount was properly applied.”

-Emmanuel Ikechukwu