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Okonjo-Iweala Admits She Transfered $322 Million Abacha’s Loot To Dasuki For Arms

By Niyi Adeyi

Amidst messy controversy on the arms purchase scandal, the immediate past Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of Economy, Dr. (Mrs) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has finally admitted she transferred the sum of $322 Million, part of recovered late Gen Sanni Abacha’s loot to the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col (rted). Sambo Dasuki.

Okonjo-Iweala’s media aide, Paul Nwabuikwu, while confirming in a statement Wednesday night, explained “Some new Abacha funds of about $322 million were returned with another $700m still being expected to be returned.”

The ex-Minister indicated: “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.”

“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” Dr. Okonjo-Iweala confirmed.

With respect to the urgency of the NSA’s memo, the statement indicated Dr. Okonjo-Iweala requested her former boss – the immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan to approve the transfer of the requested amount to the NSA’s Office for the specified purposes.

According to the former Minister, the memo relating to the meeting which approved the transfer gave three conditions and this included: “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.”

Okonjo-Iweala in her explanation to justify the transfer pointed out: “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.”

The investigation of Col. Dasuki over $2.1 Billion arms deal has thrown up a lot of dust, among of which is the arrest, investigation and trial of DAAR Communications Chairman, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, who had admitted he received from ex-NSA, the sum of N2.1 Billion; indictment of former Sokoto State Governor, Attahiru Bafarawa who allegedly received sum of N4.6 Billion among others.

Incumbent Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has recently been vocal and hard on the former Finance Minister. He had repeatedly accused her and her former office over many sleazy conducts, but which she and her aides have persistently and vehemently faulted, hence countered and declared the Governor’s allegation as vendetta.

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