To ignore evil is to become an accomplice to it…Martin Luther King.
Under Okonjo Iweala’s watch as Finance Minister, it is alleged that trillions of Naira was frittered away. As Femi Falana put it, “Dr. Okonjo-Iweala authorized the illegal payments, and washed off her hands like Pontius Pilate”
- Missing $20 billion
Former CBN Governor Sanusi insisted that NNPC is not returning all the funds it’s legally required to bring in.
He went ahead to give a detailed breakdown of all the crude oil lifted in the name of NNPC. In total 67 billion was accrued, and only 47 billion was deposited with the central bank.
But an audit which headed by Okonjo Iweala cleared the NNPC of any wrongdoing, although it found NNPC owed the government $1.48 billion for a separate shortfall.
Recent events in the corruption trial of Dieziani Madueke has confirmed Sanusi’s claim, but why did Okonjo Iweala who headed the audit clear NNPC of any wrong doing?
JP Morgan account Scandal
In 2012, it was discovered that NNPC kept a private account with a foreign bank JP Morgan, when the account was discovered, everyone denied access to the account. Okonjo Iweala said she knew about the account, but her ministry did not run it. NNPC said the account was managed by CBN, while CBN pointed fingers at the attorney general.
Year later in 2016, it emerged that the said account was used to carry out one of the largest oil corruption scandal in modern history- the Malabu oil deal worth 1.2 billion dollars. president Jonathan was alleged to have received over $200,000 from the deal.
When the Nigerian senate probed the account in 2012, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala told the committee that she is aware of the account, but denied knowledge of its details, including the number.
Today Nigeria is in court with the bank for acting as the middleman in an illegal oil deal and made payments to a convicted money launderer.
Lifting of over $3BN worth of Nigeria’s crude oil:
Jide Omokore, Kola Aluko and the former Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Alison- Maduekwe sold major oil refineries to themselves in a public bid.
Afterwards their companies went ahead and lifted Nigerian crude oil and kept the proceeds.The total sums converted was in excess of over $3BN including royalties, taxes, and fees unpaid for the asset from which the crude was taken.
“The case has been a subject of criminal investigations in the US, UK and Nigeria
Okonjo Iweala who was fully aware these transaction failed to protect the nations treasury rather made sure she covered herself, thus you can’t pin anything on her.”
Re- looting of 2.5 billion Abacha funds under Okonjo Iweala’s watch #Dasukigate
Most of the recovered funds looted by the Abacha administration was released by the Finance minister to the national security adviser. “A letter from the Office of the NSA in November 2014 further showed that the monies were released as ‘funds for special services.
The money was released in bits of foreign exchange of $47m, $5m, 4m Euros and 1.6m Euros.
“Most of these sums ended up in the hands of senior PDP members .
Kerosene subsidy scam:
NNPC claimed it subsidized the cost of kerosene so it could be sold to Nigerians at N50 per liter; it is common knowledge that the product is not only scarce in filling stations but is sold at exorbitant rates – above N 100. This is in-spite of subsidy of 150 per liter.
According to Former CBN governor Sanusi, the NNPC was not passing the benefit of the subsidy to consumers, adding that an unnamed consortium has been collecting $100m a month in a scam.
Critics have had their say about her;
- “The failure of a former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to prevent widespread and systematic corruption including the re-looting of the Abacha loot amounts to complicity under the Rome Statute, and therefore fits the legal requirements of a crime against humanity.”- Femi Falana
- Former CBN Governor Professor Chukwuma Soludo alleged that about N30 trillion could not be accounted for under her watch, SERAP followed through on Soludo’s accusation and filed a law suit demanding she gives account of the trillions spent on her watch.
- Adams Oshiomole, former governor of Benin and accused her of being fully aware of inconsistencies regarding the alleged fraud particularly how the recovered funds were spent
- Ahmed Joda, the chairman of President Muhammadu Buhari’s transition committee, says Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former minister of finance, might never be found guilty of corruption.“ she was able to produce papers to say, ‘Look, we had a meeting presided over by the president and attended by the national security adviser and others’.
Nigerian’s typically admire Okonjo Iweala because she worked with world bank, they believe that makes her credible and intelligent. But she stands guilty of alleged complicity and conspiracy, she allegedly stood by and watched the nation being plundered while Sanusi raised alarm.
As Nigerians hail her new position with the twitter board, its reminds me of former president Jonathan without shoes. Its so easy to cloud our judgement and sway opinions with illusions of grandeur or perceptions of pity