In a statement issued by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) on Thursday, the NGO called upon former Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to apologize to Nigerians for her false claim that the recovered loot of former military dictator Sani Abacha was spent as promised.
The NGO argued that Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala knew full-well that the recovered monies, N63 billion, were released illegally to former National Security Advisor (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, before the crucial presidential elections in Nigeria. A letter from Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala stated that she was putting money into the ONSA account to allegedly buy weapons to 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,” the statement read in part.
The SERAP statement comes one day after Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala attacked her critics in the media and good governance communities for their “evil plots” to defame her. The embattled former Minister of Finance has long been the darling of the international donor community and was recently placed as the President of the Board of Directors of the Global Alliance for Vaccinations and Immunizations (GAVI) and Lazard Assets Management.
SaharaReporters has previously authored several exposes about Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala's conduct as Minister of Finance, in particular, the unlawful remittance of $2.2 million to GAVI. GAVI, which operated vaccination projects in Nigeria, claimed the Nigerian government misappropriated the $2.2 million and demanded its return. Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala remitted the funds to GAVI, while fully aware that the authorities were investigating GAVI's claims. Independent audits of GAVI's claims have found little evidence of financial misappropriation and GAVI has refused to answer any questions by SaharaReporters correspondents or provide evidence of their audit.
Earlier this week Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala came under fire for her connections to the $2 billion arms scam which has brought former NSA Dasuki and former AIT Chairman Raymond Dokpesi into the hands of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for financial crimes and money laundering.
It will be recalled that earlier this year SERAP sent a letter to Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala that issued 11 questions concerning the expenditure of the funds recovered from Abacha during her tenure as Minister of Finance.
Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala issued a statement yesterday through her media adviser Paul Nwabuikwu confirming that she unlawfully diverted Abacha loot to the ONSA, which was later used to fund campaigns that would disproportionately assist Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala's political career.
A copy of the letter she wrote detailing this illicit financial transaction to former President Jonathan can be read below: