The immediate past Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, illegally approved the transfer of at least N61.4 billion ($300 million and £5.5 million) from funds recovered from late dictator, Sani Abacha, to the Office of the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, few weeks to the 2015 presidential election, Premium Times report.
The former Minister signed off on the transfer but then closed her eyes to how the funds were spent, requesting then President Goodluck Jonathan to directly demand accountability from Mr. Dasuki, according to documents seen by this newspaper.
The funds were never appropriated before they were transferred, a clear violation of Nigeria’s fiscal responsibility law.
Mr. Dasuki, alongside the former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa and founder of DAAR communications, owners of Africa Independent Television and Raypower radio network, Raymond Dokpesi, are being investigated for their roles in the disbursement of $2.1 billion and N643 billion meant for the procurement of arms to fight the raging insurgency in Nigeria’s north east region.
The recovered Abacha loot are funds returned to the Nigerian government from monies stolen from the country’s treasury by Mr. Abacha.
It is not clear whether these funds in question were part of the arms procurement funds for which Mr Dasuki is being investigated.
But a letter signed by Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, seen by Premium Times, showed that 50 per cent of the recently recovered Abacha loot was allotted for “urgent security need” such as the procurement of arms and ammunition while the other half was set aside to be used for development purposes.
The letter, dated January 20, 2015, which was addressed to Mr Jonathan revealed that the money was transferred following a January 12, 2015 request by the office of the NSA under Mr Dasuki for funds for the procurement of arms and ammunition as well as intelligence equipment.
“Please find a request by the National Security Adviser (NSA) for the transfer of $300 million and £5.5 million of the recovered Abacha funds to an ONSA [Office of the National Security Adviser] operations account,” the letter read.