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Okonjo-Iweala in more troubles as EFCC threatens fresh summons over $322m Abacha loot



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By Gbenga Ogundare

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC] is set to issue fresh summons against former coordinating minister of the economy and finance minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to question her over revelation that she released about $322m to the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki for military operations.
According to a source at the EFCC, the ex minister would be invited in the coming days by the anti graft agency for interrogation and submission of verbal and written statements.
In the event that the former minister declines the invitation, the source told this newspaper the EFCC would ask the American authorities to extradite her to Nigeria.
In a letter, dated January 20, 2015, which was addressed to former President Goodluck Jonathan, the former minister revealed that $322m of Abacha loot was transferred following a January 12, 2015 request by the office of the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, as funds for the procurement of arms and ammunition, as well as intelligence equipment.
The letter reads: “Please find a request by the National Security Adviser (NSA) for the transfer of $300 million and £5.5 million of the recovered Abacha funds to an ONSA [Office of the National Security Adviser] operations account. The NSA has explained that this is to enable the purchase of ammunition, security, and other intelligence equipment for the security agencies in order to enable them fully confront the ongoing Boko Haram threat. His request is sequel to the meeting you chaired with the committee on the use of recovered funds where the decision was made that recovered Abacha funds would be split 50-50 between urgent security needs to confront Boko Haram and development need (including a portion for the Future Generations window of the Sovereign Wealth Fund)”.
An embattled Okonjo-Iweala in a statement by her spokesperson, Paul Nwabuikwu, last night alleged that unscrupulous individuals have distorted the contents of her memo to former president Goodluck Jonathan, seeking the transfer of $300 million and £5.5 million to the Office of the  NSA to portray her in bad light.
“For the past week, Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole and other compromised persons and media have embarked on a campaign of falsehood against Dr Okonjo-Iweala. They have distorted the contents of the January 20 memo in which she responded to a request by the former National Security Adviser and quoted selectively from the document to make their false allegations of ‘illegal diversion’ of funds.’
“For your information and a fuller understanding of the issues, please see the attached January  20 memo by Dr Okonjo-Iweala as published by some online sites. It confirms that Dr Okonjo-Iweala is a transparent person of integrity and patriotic professional who worked hard to protect the interest of the country and that her accusers are purveyors of falsehood on a political mission to tarnish an innocent patriot.”
This latest disclosure appears to have vindicated Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, who last week called for the prosecution of Mrs Okonjo-Iweala for transferring funds that were not appropriated.
Meanwhile, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the former coordinating minister of the economy to “apologise to Nigerians for claiming recently that recovered Abacha loot was transparently spent while she knew that $322m (about N63billion) recovered Abacha funds were inappropriately released to finance the fight against Boko Haram.”
“Mrs Okonjo-Iweala’s approach of ‘no answers, no apology’ on how Abacha loot was spent is doing her reputation more harm than good. We hope that she will take cue from the World Bank (her former employer) when it defined ‘accountability and probity’ as knowing what task has been set, accepting to do it, and going about it with a sense of probity.”

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