The former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has reacted to media reports which alleged that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), is probing her activities while she served in public office.
It was widely reported that the EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, had said the EFCC was set to probe the nation’s oil and gas industry as part of the current anti-corruption war of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
The media further claimed that the roles of some principal officers in the former Goodluck Jonathan administration, including the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke; Okonjo-Iweala; and an oil magnate, will come under intense scrutiny.
Magu had made the assertion while fielding questions during the commission’s budget presentation/defence at the House of Representatives.
However, Media Adviser to Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Paul C Nwabuikwu, in a statement released on Tuesday, said the reports were erroneous, adding that the EFCC boss was quoted out of context.
The statement read, “We want to clarify that some of the media reports alleging that the EFCC is investigating former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, are misleading and untrue. This is clear from eye witness accounts of the Budget 2016 presentation by the EFCC at the House of Representatives and gaps in the reported stories.
“The headlines are a misrepresentation of what the EFCC Chairman actually said during the event. While the headlines claimed that the EFCC Chairman, in response to a question by an APC, member Hon Razak Atunwa, stated that Dr Okonjo-Iweala is under investigation, the actual words quoted in the same reports told a very different story.
The statement said that the actual response of the EFCC boss were: “Very soon we will go into the petroleum industry. Such investigation requires that we have to build capacity, we have to bring in experts to enable us tackle what we are doing properly and the investigation must be conducted properly. We have internal lawyers and external lawyers. We have to pay insurance…
“The words said to have been spoken by the EFCC Chairman cannot support the lurid headlines that Dr Okonjo-Iweala is under investigation by the EFCC. The Nigerian media plays an important role in our democracy and we urge them to be fair, balanced and factual in their reports,” the statement added.