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Okonjo-Iweala must be prosecuted – Oshiomhole insists 



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Adams Oshiomhole, Edo State Governor, on Thursday insisted that former Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and others found to be involved in the mismanagement of funds meant for the purchase of arms for the military under the previous administration of President Goodluck Jonathan be prosecuted.
The governor spoke at a National Dialogue organised to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the National Human Rights Commission and the International Human Rights Day.
This came as a civil society organisation, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), asked Okonjo Iweala, to apologise to Nigerians for claiming recently that recovered Abacha loot was
transparently spent when she knew that $322million recovered from the late military Head of State, General Sani Abacha, was inappropriately released to finance the fight against Boko Haram.
Oshiomhole faulted the claim by former minister that she released part of the funds recovered from the loot of Abacha to the immediate past National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
The governor argued that the federal government’s effort to recover stolen funds under the Jonathan era would not be complete without the former’s prosecution.
He accused Okonjo-Iweala of supervising and coordinating the mismanagement of the nation’s economy. He said: “All I am just saying is that we are in a constitutional democracy. We are not under an
informal arrangement. And when you listen to all the narratives, all the disclosure 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 for the Economy saying that she transferred part of the money recovered from Abacha to
Dasuki for security purpose.
“Now, the first question the media should ask is, even under conditions of war, money must be appropriated. And the National Assembly, I recall very well, when Aminu Tambuwal was the 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 to 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. They say it is Ali Baba and the forty thieves. Now, you are dealing with the forty thieves and. Ali Baba is left alone. The Ali Baba, in this case,is Okonjo-Iweala, who supervised, who coordinated the economy, who signed for the release of this money in clear breach of the Constitution, must be tried.
“They must all be investigated. I don’t like the word probe. What are you probing. The facts have been acknowledged, she has admitted that she transferred money. This same Okonjo-Iweala, few months back, had
said in the media that Abacha loot was used for development.
“That was what she said then, only for her to turn around yesterday to say no, it was used for security. But whether for development or for security, was Abacha loot covered in the appropriation?” President
Muhammadu Buhari was represented by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), at the occasion which was co-organised by the NHRC and the Nigerian Bar
Meanwhile, SERAP whose statement followed Okonjo-Iweala’s confession that she released about $322m to Dasuki for military operations,. said: “The truth about the spending of Abacha loot is now coming out
and it is clear that Okonjo-Iweala was wrong to accuse SERAP of bias while she knew that we were simply seeking truth, justice and accountability on the spending of recovered Abacha loot.
In the statement signed by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, the group said: “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. Probity implying the willingness to self-disclose such information to which a specific stakeholder group has a right as well as tolerance of the scrutiny of such a stakeholder group on
information to which they have a right.”
The organisation added: We therefore urge her to come out for the sake of millions of Nigerians living in extreme poverty and also of generations yet unborn and tell Nigerians the whole story about what
exactly happened to the recovered Abacha loot, as well as publicly apologise for claiming that the Abacha loot was transparently spent. She should be held to account for the money.”