Former Minister of Finance Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has described as a joke, attempts by Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) to link her to the alleged $2.1 billion arms scandal.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, in a statement by her media adviser, Paul Nwabuikwu, said she “has absolutely nothing to do with the alleged misuse of $2.1 billion by the Office of the former National Security Adviser”.

The statement said: “Falana and his sponsors are simply trying to invent a connection, where there is none.”

She noted that she “sought and received the approval of former President Jonathan for the release of part of the newly returned Abacha funds to the NSA for purchase of arms, which is totally separate from the $2.1 billion issue”.

On the recovered Abacha funds, the statement added: “Some of the funds recovery was done under the regime of General Abdulsalami Abubakar and the first term of President Olusegun Obasanjo, when Dr. Okonjo-Iweala was not even in government.”

During her time as Finance minister in the second term of Obasanjo administration, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala said: “$500 million 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. Falana’s insistence on the contrary shows how despicable he is and how he is ready to ignore facts and concoct a fiction in the service of his sponsors.”

On her fight against corruption while in office, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala described Falana as “callous beyond belief for ignoring a fact of recent Nigerian history: the kidnap of Professor Kamene Okonjo, the then 83-year-old mother of Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, by agents of fuel subsidy fraudsters, who were angry that the former minister had blocked them from defrauding the country further.”

According to the statement, “the kidnappers had told the traumatised old woman that they were sent to punish Dr. Okonjo-Iweala for refusing to pay some oil marketers. It is on record with the Department of State Services (DSS) that the kidnappers initially demanded the resignation of Dr. Okonjo-Iweala in return for the release of her mother. Thank God Professor Okonjo is still alive to tell her story today and she will not be silenced.”

She accused Falana and his alleged sponsors of engaging “in nothing, but media harassment, cyber-bullying and intimidation against innocent persons like Dr. Okonjo-Iweala for political and pecuniary gain”.

 

-Nation Newspaper

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