The former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Friday, released a memo in respect of the arms deal saga, in order to address the several allegations concerning her involvement in the $2 billion dollars arms deal scam.
In an email she sent to Vanguard, the former minister said that she had provided the memo in order to make clarifications and to vindicate herself, after evil elements distorted the contents of a memo dated January 20, 2015.
The memo had been a response to a request by the former National Security Adviser, Col Ibrahim Dasuki (retired) for funds to prosecute the terror war against Boko Haram.
In the email, the former minister, aware that the objective of these evil elements is to tarnish her image and to ensure that she is implicated at all cost in the “illegal diversion” of funds said:
“Compliments. 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 January 20 memo by Dr Okonjo-Iweala as published.
“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.
Recall that on Wednesday, December 9th, Media Adviser to Dr Okonjo-Iweala, Paul C Nwabuikwu, in a statement made available to newsmen, released facts which described as baseless, allegations of the ‘Illegal Diversion’ of Abacha funds.
The statement read, “The central responsibility of the Minister of Finance IS to find sources of funding for the financing of approved national priorities such as security, job creation and infrastructure.
“It will be recalled that 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.
“In fact, the Ministry, on several occasions, had to call press conferences to provide details of budgetary spending on the military, to show, against the background of limited resources and other urgent national priorities, that it was doing its best on funding security.
“It was about this time that some new Abacha funds of about $322m were returned with another $700m still expected to be returned. (This is not to be confused with the Abacha funds returned in 2005-2006 under the Obasanjo government whose use for developmental purposes was monitored by the World Bank as earlier explained by Dr Okonjo-Iweala).
“Former President Jonathan set up a Committee comprising of 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.
“Following the discussions and based on the urgency of the NSA’s memo, Dr Okonjo-Iweala requested the President to approve the transfer of the requested amount to the NSA’s Office for the specified purposes.”
The statement said that the attempt to link the former Minister’s name to any misuse of these funds for any purpose other than security as far as she understood it is totally false and cannot stand.