Okonjo-Iweala Knew Of Massive Corruption Under Jonathan

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.

 

Joda said this to journalists in Yola, the capital city of Adamawa state, on Tuesday.

 

He said that while Okonjo-Iweala knew of the shady activities going on, she always sought the approval of Goodluck Jonathan, the former president, thereby protecting herself from prosecution.

 

Joda said it was alarming that Okonjo-Iweala knew about the spate of corruption going on during the past regime, but held onto her job, presiding over fraudulent withdrawals from the economy.

 

Okonjo-Iweala is a professional and she guarded herself. Whenever, they said this happened, 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’.

 

And she would go back and write the president and say, ‘I have received a request to release so many billions in accordance with our minutes. Your Excellency, if you will approve.’ And His Excellency would approve it. So, she covered herself, thus you can’t pin anything on her.”

How Buhari can fix Nigeria’s economic crisis – Okonjo-Iweala

The immediate past Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said on Monday that having a handle on Nigeria’s spiralling inflation, foreign exchange problem, fiscal deficit and debts control were key to resolving the country’s current economic crisis.

Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, who spoke on Aljazeera TV programme, The Stream, said focusing on the basic issues of macroeconomic stability was crucial to fixing the country’s economic challenges.

“If you don’t pay attention to the fundamentals of having a stable and good exchange rate policy, inflation under control, manageable fiscal deficit and debts, there will continue to be trouble in the economy,” she said.

Nigeria is facing its worst economic crisis in decades. The economy slipped into recession after contracting in the first two quarters of 2016.

Inflation jumped from 16.2 per cent in July to 17.1 per cent in August 2016, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Since the introduction of the floating foreign exchange policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which freed the Naira from a band of N197-N199 to the dollar, the currency has been in a free fall against other international currencies.

From about N281 to the dollar at the beginning of the policy in June, Naira crashed to about N420 to the dollar shortly before the Sallah holidays on Friday.

Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, a former World Bank Managing Director, told Al Jazeera that she remained optimistic that solutions to the country’s economic decline could still be found.

Asked what would be her top three priorities to resolve the country’s current economic crisis if she had remained the finance minister, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said she would prefer the current managers of the economy talk about it.

“I have contributed the best I could to the country. It is still the most interesting country in the world. It is better to leave those who are managing now to say what they would do.

“All I can say is that there are solutions. Nigeria is a vibrant country. I love it so much. I know it is going to come out of this one way or another,” she said.

On if President Muhammadu Buhari were to ask her to come and help in resolving the country’s economic crisis, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said: “One of the things you learn as you get wiser is to talk less as you grow older.

“I have spent my time contributing to the country. It will be better to leave those managing the economy to do what they know how to do.

“I served my country for seven years and it was a great honour. The second time was very tough, but it was still an honour. I am not the only person who is a repository of knowledge. There are other people who can equally try their hands in running the economy.”

On the continental scale, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, expressed regrets the economic gains recorded in Africa have started being eroded in the last two to three years.

“On the continent, we have seen a period when the economy was doing relatively well. It’s only in the last two to three years that things have started to go a bit south.”

She spoke about the job initiative of the Goodluck Jonathan government, YOU-WIN.

“The whole idea was to have a business plan competition. Beneficiaries were expected to create jobs to employ six people or more.

“Each created 9-10 jobs. The World Bank did an evaluation of it and found it good. I do believe the government should come in. We started a peer to peer mentoring. Now, one of the things I want to say is that creating employment is not only about struggles, it is about managing success,” she said.

On how the anti-corruption war was fought during her time in government, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala described it as “a very tough fight”.

“It was tough. I must thank my team. You don’t do it alone. I had the support of an economic team in the Ministry of Finance. At the end of the day, you need to have some principles,” she said.

Bade Adebolu: Judgement Scam; Why Okonjo-Iweala Should Not Be Blamed

Recently, a coalition of anti-corruption civil society bodies petitioned the EFCC that the erstwhile Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Muhaamed Bello Adoke to account for the sum of $3.2 billion allegedly belonging to the 774 local governments on whose behalf one Mr. Joe Agi SAN obtained the judgment.

According to media report, “…none of the local governments benefited from the $1.6 billion said to have been paid to the plaintiffs.”

The question on the minds of many Nigerians is: Who really authorized the disbursement of the funds?

I am not so good at mathematics, but I know for sure that a trillion is made up of several billions; and several millions makes a billion. If my knowledge of math is still with me, it is either this judgement is a sham or there is a deliberate distortion somewhere!

In a country with a reputation of corrupt judiciary doing the biddings of their pay master, one do not need to wait too long to buy “gbanjo” judgement using the Yoruba parlance language. We live in a country where the Judiciary that is supposed to be the last hope of the common man is providing no hope, but hardship. We all are witnesses to the fact that people like Justice Salami sold their conscience for their paymasters and were all ignominiously shown the way out of the famous institution.

At this point let us bring in former Minister of Finance, Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. She has to be brought in because, going by conventional wisdom, she served as the custodian of the nation’s treasury at the time so she cannot be “insulated” from the news. More curiously we ask: would Dr. Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala not have made the part payment of $1.6 billion? In her own case, did she collude with the Adoke because she too ignored the advice of the Debt Management Office? As the Coordinating Minister of the Economy at the time, did she not ought to have protected Nigeria by defending the position of the DMO instead of following Adoke’s dubious directive to pay the sum of a judgment debt of $3.6 billion?

While I do not envy the former finance minister at all for having to serve in the same administration with people like Adoke, we must resist the temptations to assume that everyone that served under Hitler was evil. After all, President Buhari served under one of the worst administrations in Nigeria’s history- General Sanni Abacha. So why should Okonjo-Iweala be guilty by association if Buhari is not guilty of the Abacha’s crimes?

The role of Okonjo-Iweala as finance minister is not to question expenditures or vouchers. Those are roles purely of the Offices of the Accountant-General and the Auditor-General of the Federation. For God’s sake, why should I, for instance perform the duties of a nurse just because I am the physician?

That leads me to my next point, even if the monies were misappropriated, why should we blame Okonjo-Iweala for that?

If we take this line of thought as gospel, then we come to an answer such as this: A young man started working with a Commercial Bank as a Financial Control Officer. He diligently focused on his job that other things do not bother about any other things going on in the bank. He closed his eyes on the fraudulent deals going on among the top brass of the Bank for not wanting to be seen as a whistle-blower since he wasn’t employed for that.

This man won several awards both within and without the organization, but he soon discovered his diligence was not enough to prevent the Bank from going bankrupt. Should we say this man was responsible for the organization’s bankruptcy? Should he have blown the whistle? Should he have resigned when he became aware of the bad deals his superiors are engaging in even though it all started before he took the job? Whatever your answer is to these questions, this was the case with Okonjo-Iweala.

On this issue, I believe the coalition of the civil society should turn the searchlight and the heat on the bureaucrats at the Ministry of Justice and the then Attorney General of the Federation, Mr, Adoke (SAN).

The Yoruba people have a saying that for a child not to commit crimes is the reason he was given a name.  Mr. Adoke has his own name which is definitely not Okonjo-Iweala!  Therefore, leave Okonjo Iweala out of this mess.

Bade Adebolu is an accountant based in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti state. He sent this piece via badeadebolu@gmail.com

Views expressed are solely that of author and does not represent views of www.omojuwa.com nor its associates

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Reacts To Alleged Investigation By EFCC

Former Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has reacted to reports that she’s allegedly being investigated by the EFCC for embezzlement, calling media headlines misleading and untrue. Her statement below..

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.

His words: “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.

Paul C Nwabuikwu Media Adviser to Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Okonjo-Iweala Under Probe For €3.6m Vehicles Deal

EFCC to quiz ex-Service Chiefs in new phase of arms cash investigation

Another round of investigations into the $2.1billion arms deals is to begin tomorrow, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) sources said yesterday.

Top on the agenda is how the Dr. Goodluck Jonathan Administration bought €3,654,121million vehicles for the Republic of Niger in October 2013 and April 2014. The cash was withdrawn from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) account in two installments of €1, 401,869 and €2,252,252.25. The commission is also seeking to verify whether or not the vehicles were bought and
under diplomatic or bilateral security cooperation. The EFCC is to find out from the Republic of Niger if there was such assistance from Nigeria.

The agency plans to quiz some more public figures, including former Minister of Finance Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, some former Service Chiefs and serving military officers in connection with the $2.1billion arms deals.

Some suspects may be taken into custody, it was learnt.

The EFCC,it was gathered, is through with the first phase of the probe, which led to the arraignment of ex-National Security Adviser (NSA) Sambo Dasuki and 10 others. The interrogation of the likes of Dasuki and the others now facing trial or about to be arraigned seems to have convinced the agency of the need to dig deeper than originally planned.

A top source said: “We are beginning the second phase of the ongoing investigation of the $2.1b arms deals on Monday. From the preliminary findings, the scandal is mind-boggling.

“We are going to question more high-profile serving and former public officers, including a former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on the release of some funds.

“We want the ex-Minister to shed more light on how about $322million was disbursed to the Office of the National Security Adviser(ONSA).

“Some serving and former military chiefs will have to respond to issues which we have already isolated for clarification.”

The source said investigators had already obtained the list of military equipment which were bought and the inventory by the Armed Forces.

“This explains why some serving and former military chiefs will need to come and assist our investigators,”he said.

“Some of the companies which supplied these equipment have been contacted too.”

On the purchase of security vehicles for Niger Republic,the EFCC is said to have established that the money was withdrawn from the ONSA account in two installments of €1, 401,869 and €2,252,252.25,

The commission is keen to confirm whether or not the vehicles were bought and under what diplomatic or bilateral security cooperation. It was gathered that it will require finding out from the Republic of Niger if there was such assistance from Nigeria. The initial cash of €1, 401,869 was drawn from the Central Bank in an October 2013 through ONSA memo ACCT/87/VOL.1/384. The second tranche of €2,252,252.25 was got from the CBN in an April 1, 2014 via a memo ACCT/87/VOL.1/60

The first memo to the CBN Governor, “Transfer of foreign exchange”, said: “You are please requested to transfer the sum of €1, 401,869.00 only in favour of SEI Societe d’equipments Internanaux-Niamey-Niger BP 11737 as payment for the supply of security vehicles to Republic of Niger. The wire transfer details are as follows: Banque: SONIBANK (Republique du Niger-Niamey). Compete N025111123981/22. Code Banque:80064. Code Guichrt: 01001.

“The amount should be charged to National Security Adviser Account no. 0020172241019 with the Central Bank of Nigeris Abuja and all charges thereto.

“Please accept the assurances of the National Security Adviser.”

Magu, earlier in the day told the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes that Okonjo-Iweala, former Minister of Petroleum Resources Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke and one of her associates, Mr, Kola Aluko, are being investigated.

He also told the committee, why defending the EFCC’s 2016 Budget, that the agency should be supported to hire additional 750 employees in different cadres.

Magu also sought the backing of the committee to consider and approve “additional N500,000 million to assist in our operational activities as more sectors of the economy may likely come under investigative activities during the year.”

Magu said the agency’s estimate is made up ofN11, 422, 991, 540.00 for capital, and N2,999,245,761.00 as the overhead component of the recurrent. He requested that “the National Assembly should graciously support a planned recruitment of additional 750 employees of different cadres in 2016.”

A second memo said: “You are please requested to transfer the sum of €2, 252, 252.25 only in favour of SEI Societe d’equipments Internanaux-Niamey-Niger BP 11737 as payment for the supply of security vehicles to Republic of Niger. The wire transfer details are as follows: Banque: SONIBANK (Republique du Niger-Niamey). Compete N025111123981/22. Code Banque: 80064. Code Guichrt: 01001.

“The amount should be charged to National Security Adviser Account no. 0020172241019 with the Central Bank of Nigeria,Abuja and all charges thereto.

“Please accept the assurances of the National Security Adviser.”

The EFCC has intensified its collaboration with the National Crime Agency in the United Kingdom, with the ongoing probe of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The International Corruption Unit (ICU) of NCA on October 2 arrested Mrs. Alison-Madueke and four others.

The identities of the remaining four suspects are yet to be unveiled.

But all the suspects are being investigated for alleged bribery and money laundering.

The EFCC source, who is actively involved in the ongoing investigation, said: “We have been collaborating with NCA on Diezani’s case, which has reached an appreciable level.

“We have the details of others arrested with Diezani but we will not disclose until the matter gets to a convenient bend.

“So far, we have been comparing notes with NCA on a faster note in terms of tracking a few transactions and documents. There is no hiding place for the ex-Minister and her alleged accomplices.

“By the time the trial begins, the NCA and EFCC would have established a solid case against the ex-Minister and other suspects.”

Source: The Nation

I Transferred $322m Abacha Loot To Dasuki – Okonjo-Iweala

A former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Wednesday said she transferred $322m (N64.148bn) from the looted funds recovered from the former Head of State, the late Gen. Sani Abacha, to the Office of the National Security Adviser for military operations in the North-East.

The ex-minister, in a statement by her Media Adviser, Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu, said the transfer of the fund was approved after a committee, set up by former President Goodluck Jonathan, gave approval for the use of the fund.

She explained that based on the decision of the committee, she personally requested that part of the recovered fund be used for security operations while the rest be channelled to developmental purposes.

The minister stated that she decided to release the amount to the ONSA following various accusations from some quarters that she was starving the military of funds to prosecute the war on terrorism.

There was a report on Wednesday that the former minister diverted N61.4bn from the Abacha loot to the office of the former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).

Okonjo-Iweala was reported to have written a letter to Jonathan requesting the transfer of the fund to the NSA office.

The former finance minister had, last week, said she had nothing to do with the $2.1bn arms probe.

Responding to a statement by the Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, the ex-finance minister had said she had “absolutely nothing” to do with the arms purchase scam.

But the statement by Nwabuikwo explained that as captured in the memo, Okonjo-Iweala insisted that the fund be deployed after satisfying three conditions.

The statement reads in part, “As part of the campaign of falsehood against the former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala by Edo Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, and other powerful and corrupt interests, another baseless story has been published by some online media.

“To achieve their evil propaganda objective of tarnishing her name, these evil elements have distorted the contents of a memo, dated January 20, 2015, in which the former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, responded to a request by the former National Security Adviser, Col. Ibrahim Dasuki (retired), for funds to prosecute the terror war against Boko Haram.

“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.”

She added, “It was about this time that some new Abacha funds of about $322m were returned with another $700m still expected to be returned.

“Former President Jonathan set up a committee, comprising 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, she noted, there could not 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 to 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 the attempt to link the ex-minister’s name to any misuse of these funds for any purpose other than security “is totally false and cannot stand.”

Okonjo-Iweala must be arrested, insists Oshiomhole

Meanwhile, Oshiomhole has said the Federal Government must make sure that the ongoing investigation into arms deals under the past administration is total by ensuring that all those involved in what he called “the chain of conspiracy” are dealt with decisively.

Specifically, the governor called for the arrest and prosecution of Okonjo-Iweala, arguing that there was no way money could have been taken from the nation’s treasury without her knowledge.

Oshiomhole spoke with State House correspondents on Wednesday shortly after he met behind closed-doors with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said the government could not afford to be selective in the probe because in criminal law, all those involved must be charged with conspiracy.

He said Okonjo-Iweala, who was also the Coordinating Minister of the Economy under former President Goodluck Jonathan, could not be coordinating “a corruption-ridden economy” and be pretending to be an angel.

Oshiomhole argued that if a Minister of Finance endorsed documents to ensure the release of funds, it was the responsibility of the government official to also ensure that the money was spent on the purpose for which it was released.

The governor said, “I am not shocked at the revelations from the arms probe. I have just told some people that the government has to go the whole hog because I know as a governor that no money gets out of the treasury even after I have approved as the governor without the commissioner of finance. That is the procedure.

“Oshiomhole Is Suffering From Numerical Diarrhea” – Okonjo-Iweala

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, has stated that Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo state is suffering numerical diarrhea after he alleged that she took $1billion to fund the re-election bid of former president Goodluck Jonathan.

In statement issued by Paul C Nwabuikwu, media adviser Okonjo-Iweala, he described Oshiomhole’s accusations as “another false, baseless allegation against Okonjo-Iweala by Oshiomhole.

“The allegation by Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State that former Minister of Finance Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala spent $1 billion out of the Excess Crude Account to fund the re-election bid of former President Jonathan is the kind of ludicrously false statement that has unfortunately become a trademark of the Governor in his public campaign of falsehood against Dr Okonjo-Iweala,” the statement said.

“The statement is just another example of the numerical diarrhea that seems to have afflicted His Excellency in recent times in his effort to damage the reputation of the former Minister.

“He has, within the last few months, asked Dr Okonjo-Iweala to explain all kinds of totally wild and unsubstantiated figures, ranging from $30 billion, $20 billion, $2.1 billion, N720 billion and now $1 billion.”

Okonjo-Iweala then stated that Oshiomhole’s accusations totally lack any credibility. ” Governor Oshiomhole’s published comments also contain other falsehoods. For instance, he quoted Dr Okonjo-Iweala as saying that she and the Finance Commissioners of the 36 states approved the spending of $2.1 billion out of the Excess Crude Account, adding that the Commissioners had disowned the statement. This is also a complete distortion.

“Dr Okonjo-Iweala never said the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) approved spending out of the ECA. Rather as the Commissioners themselves stated, the former Minister of State Finance informed them that former President Jonathan approved the expenditure to end the debilitating fuel queues across the country.

“As Nigerians know, the Finance Ministry under Okonjo-Iweala regularly published details of revenue allocations from the ECA in national media. So Oshiomhole’s tortured “calculations” based on his “four figure tables” are mere political numbers conjured to achieve a political purpose. Nigerians can see through the elaborate antics.

“Governor Oshiomhole’s latest statement, like earlier ones, labours to give the impression that the entire FAAC process which involves the Federal Government and the 36 states of the Federation is a personal monopoly of Dr Okonjo-Iweala.

“This is, of course not true. FAAC is a long standing national platform for allocating revenues chaired by the Minister of State Finance. The governor’s insistence on pushing this clearly fictional narrative underscores his desperation.

“It is instructive that Governor Oshiomhole is a key member of the committee set up by the National Economic Council to investigate the ECA spending. His continuing attacks against Dr Okonjo-Iweala seem to suggest that he has lost confidence in this platform which he deployed to make some of his initial false and baseless allegations. The Governor does not seem to appreciate that he is undermining the very credibility of the committee.

“Once again, we ask: why are Oshiomhole and his cohorts so ready to sacrifice truth, precedent and decency in this political witch hunt against Dr Okonjo-Iweala? We are confident that they will fail because truth will triumph,” the statement read.

Source: PM News

Governors Owing Salaries Did Not Heed Okonjo-Iweala’s Advice – Monye

A former official of the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration has accused Governors in Nigeria owning workers’ salaries of turning a deaf ear to the advice of the Minister of Finance and Coordinator of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Giving his opinion on Monday about the claims that the country’s treasury was empty, a former Senior Adviser to the President on Performance and Evaluation, Professor Sylvester Monye, urged Nigerians to hold Governors accountable for the non-payment of salaries to workers.

Professor Monye said that the Finance Minister had, when revenue allocation dropped,warned the governor’s to give priority to the payment of salaries, which according to him, was ignored by the Governors.

“When the Price of crude started falling down, the former Minister of Finance called a meeting of the Commissioner of Finance in states to advise that salaries should be made first line charge because revenue was coming down.

“No state Governor has no business talking about non-payment of salaries because they continued to receive money from the Federation Account,” he said.

In defence to the non-payment of salaries to some workers in about 18 out of 36 states, the governors said they had used part of their allocation on projects that should have been carried out by the Federal Government in their various States.

At a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari to discuss the salary crisis, the Governors requested that the Federal Government should pay back monies spent on those projects.

However, Professor Monye insisted that the Governors had misplaced priorities, insisting that Nigerians should question why they could not pay.

“If they so choose to do contracts, as they have done, it is their decision.

“Nigerians ought to ask governors what they did with their money. It is the civic responsibility of all Nigerians.

“Did the governors have the authority of the Federal Government to work on the roads, as they claimed?

“The Federal Government never said you should not intervene but you have to discuss with the Federal Government and follow due process,” he insisted.

As part of assurance to the State governments, the Federal Government told the Governors at the meeting that it would look at the projects to know if they followed due process and make refunds.

Weeks after President Buhari took over office, he said that his administration met a virtually empty treasury that could affect the performance of his government within the first 100 days.

On the Buhari’s administration’s claims, Professor Monye said that the new administration was still using the language of opposition, which was completely different from the language of government.

He said the claim was not true.

“In government everything you say has fundamental implications.

“Parties that came together to form the APC have been very effective and they were successful of prosecuting their political campaign to the point of winning the election.

“But now that they are in government, whatever they say, the language must change to language of government.

“When you say certain fundamental things like; empty treasury, the country is broke and the economy is run aground, you are creating bigger problem for yourself because in my own position it is not true.

“It is not an issue of meeting an empty treasury. The fundamental is, are you supposed to meet anything in the treasury?” He questioned.

“Patriotic Illegality”

Explaining the circumstance that could have led to President Buhari’s statement, Professor Monye said that, as contained in the Constitution, the treasury was expected to be empty.

According to him, the Constitution of Nigeria stipulates that monies gotten from crude oil sales should be shared between the Federal and State Governments.

He, however, further explained that a former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, during his tenure, saw the need for excess amount earned from sales of crude to be saved, a situation that resulted in the establishment of an Excess Crude Account.

Professor Monye described the account as a “patriotic illegality”, as he explained further that Governors in Nigeria had gone to court to request that the money in the account should be shared, as it was unconstitutional.

“The constitution says that any money that is made in the country from all revenue sources must be put into the Federation Account and be shared between the states and the Federal Government.

“What is saved in the Excess Crude Account is the excess from what is earned and the current oil bench mark as stipulated in the budget.

“How can you be talking about an empty treasury, where there is a court case that is saying that the money in the Excess Crude Account should be shared?” Professor Monye further questioned.

He stressed the need for a fundamental reform of the Constitution to make provision for the Excess Crude Account which he said was necessary for any government or nation that wanted economic stability.

“What we need to do is to compel the government to save a certain percentage of what it receives from the Federation account,” he added.

I’m Not Afraid Of Buhari —Madam Okonjo-Iweala Boasts

Minister of Finance, Ngozi Onkojo-Iweala, has boasted that she is not scared of President Muhammadu Buhari if he decides to probe her activities in the government of Goodluck Jonathan.

She said: “There is no substance in the wild allegations that any money is missing from the account or that finances of the country under Okonjo-Iweala’s watch have not been well managed.”

The minister added that she “has no reason to fear Buhari.

Those who cannot adequately explain what they did with the resources of their states and are begging for bailout are those who should to be scared.”

She stated this in a statement while responding to revelations made by Governor Adams Oshiomhole.

She denied claims by Oshiomhole that she has been speaking out lately because of the ‘fear of Buhari’.

According to her, “if there is any minister whose voice has been strong on the right issues over the past four years, it is Okonjo-Iweala.”

She however forgot to say that she has been claiming that our economy was very ok, when in fact it’s not.

Okonjo-Iweala: Jonathan Incurred $21bn Of $63bn National Debts

Coordinating Minister for the Economy (CME) and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Saturday put the nation’s total debt stock at $63.7 billion, which encompasses multilateral as well as domestic loans by successive federal and state governments since 1960.

She said that of this figure, $21.8 billion was incurred under the outgoing government of President Goodluck Jonathan. Her disclosure is coming on the heels of remarks by Vice President-elect Yemi Osinbajo that the outgoing administration of President Jonathan will be leaving a
huge debt of $60 billion for the incoming administration of Muhammadu Buhari.

Speaking during an interactive session with finance correspondents in Abuja on Saturday, she said it was wrong to blame the Jonathan administration for the huge debt stock which she said was
accumulated over a long period of time by several administrations.
Giving insight into the $21.8 billion debts incurred under the Jonathan government the minister said the debts were made up of $18 billion domestic component and $3.7 billion external component.

According to her between 2007 and 2011, a debt of $17.3 billion was recorded while between 2012 and 2015, the debt incurred stood at $18.1 billion.

She explained that the leap in the debt profile between 2012 and 2015 was triggered off by the 53
per cent wage increase implemented by the late Umaru Yar’Adua administration in a fell swoop.

This, she said, skyrocketed government’s borrowing from N524 billion to over N1 trillion in order to meet the salary increase, adding that the country’s domestic debt increased by $18.1 billion mainly
because of the 53 per cent increase in the pay of civil and public servants.

The minister stated that at the time of the salary increase, she was still with the World Bank, adding
that she had written and warned on the consequences of acquiescing to such a huge increase.

Absolving the Jonathan administration of blame, the minister said the government had in deed taken a careful and meticulous approach to managing the nation’s debt, noting that the present administration, for the first time in the nation’s history, retired a domestic debt of N75 billion in 2013.

-ThisDay

Fuel Crisis: ??Okonjo-Iweala Accuses Oil Marketers of Blackmail

The Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Saturday accused petroleum products marketers of blackmail? by masterminding the current fuel scarcity that has threatened to ground the economy.
The Minister, who was speaking in Abuja, said it was shocking that barely a week after she reached an agreement over ??N200 billion ?fuel ?claims?,? the marketers reneged and failed to continue selling fuel to consumers.

Mrs?.? Okonjo-Iweala?,? who spoke of efforts the government was making to ensure that the marketers’ claims were paid, said apart from the N154 billion paid a fortnight ago, about N31 billion and N350 billion were paid to the marketers previously.

She said it was curious that despite these efforts by ?the ?government in a year it was going through difficult times?,? the? marketers ?were showing so much bad faith.

?The minister said after the N154 billion was paid and the marketers came up with ?a new? request of
N200 billion as ?their ?outstanding claims, it was found out that about N159 billion was actually what they were asking for as exchange rate differential.

Consequently, she said it was agreed that a committee be set up to verify the claims before the payment was be made.

PREMIUM TIMES reports that the committee was headed by the Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Farouk Ahmed, with the Director General of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Abraham Nwankwo, as well as two Directors-General from the Ministry as members.

“The marketers wanted me (Minister) to sign the claim for the payment of N159 billion and I said no, because Nigerian?s? don’t ?know ?what is exchange rate differential. We had to call those agencies responsible to verify those claims in view of the fact that there has been so much fraud and manipulations in the claims by oil marketers?,” Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said.?

“We have to be very careful, so that Nigerians would not accuse us of giving away their money for something that was not real. It is the demonstration of the highest sense of bad faith that after we had an agreement during the meeting and they said everything had been settled, only for the marketers to turn around the very next day to say a complete?? opposite thing?.?

The next day they shut down all the filling stations, except few of them who opened to sell. What does that tell you?

My conclusion is that the marketers just want Nigerians to suffer. Anyone who thinks that this whole thing has to do with the money being owed is not being truthful. If it was so, the marketers would have waited for the verification to be completed.

It is wrong to shut down their stations and depots a day after reaching an agreement with government just to make a lot money from the black market. Nigerians should not be blackmailed. Nigerians should not allow themselves to be blackmailed by the oil marketers,” the Minister said.

Nigerian Man, Starts Petition Demanding Yale University To Withdraw Honorary Degree Bestowed On Okonjo-Iweala

A Nigerian, Sunday Iwalaiye has started a petition on change.org calling on authorities of Yale University to withdraw the Honorary Degree it bestowed on Minister of Finance and Coordinator of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on May 15th.

Sunday, in his petition stated that Dr Okonjo-Iweala is not deserving of the honorary degree as the Nigerian economy has taken a nose dive since she assumed office as Minister of Finance. A thousand Nigerians have so far signed the petition.


His petition below
“YALE UNIVERSITY GAVE ITS PRESTIGIOUS HONORARY DOCTORATE DEGREE TO AN UNDESERVING NIGERIAN”:Ngozi Iweala, the outgoing Nigeria’s finance minister was awarded a honorary doctorate degree by Yale University on May 15, 2015.

The citation from the Yale University reads:”Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Doctor of Humane Letters. You are a citizen of your country, your continent, and the world. Shaped by challenging experiences during your childhood in Nigeria, you have made social and economic reform your mission. As Nigeria’s coordinating minister of economic development and minister of finance, you have tackled corruption, created a vision and path to long-term economic stability, and worked to build a culture of transparency. At the World Bank, you made food security a priority and provided policy advice and capital for the world’s poorest countries.

With wisdom, a fierce dedication to doing what is right, and unflagging energy, you have transformed the economic landscape of your nation. We are proud to name you Doctor of Humane Letter” This citation from the Yale University does not reflect nor represent everything that has happened under the watch and the supervision of the Nigerian economy by Ngozi Iweala as the nation’s finance minister. There is no tangible evidence of any economic development in Nigeria under the leadership of Ngozi Iweala in all reality. Nigeria’s economy is still an oil-dependent economy that is debt and borrowing ridden as well as 100% consuming and importing in nature.

Nigeria’s debt profile has risen rapidly under Ngozi Iweala and Nigeria has borrowed over $2 billion in the last four months alone to pay salaries of the federal and state civil servants. Our foreign reserves and excess crude oil accounts have both depleted heavily under Ngozi Iweala. The recurrent expenditures in the federal budgets reached the highest levels which made capital development practically impossible in Nigeria under Ngozi Iweala.

The board of regents of this ivy league school missed it completely by awarding their prestigious honorary doctorate degree to an undeserving Nigerian in all truth, honesty and reality. The Nigeria’s economy has remained the same under Ngozi Iweala without any evidence of its diversity from oil.

The Nigerian Naira crashed to its lowest value in its history under Ngozi Iweala. The true picture that Yale University missed is the fact that the economy of Nigeria has almost grounded to its final halt today which will makes its a daunting task for the incoming administration of General Muhammadu Buhari to meet its campaign promises.

The menace of official corruption and financial scandals have both reached their peaks in Nigeria under Ngozi Iweala. A central bank governor was fired for disclosing that $20 billion was missing from the federal coffers and this allegation was investigated in a shady and questionable manner. The oil subsidy scam that cheated Nigeria’s tax payers of trillions of Naira was coordinated and supervised by Ngozi Iweala.

The culture of official corruption and state resource mismanagement were both honored, celebrated, protected and defended under the leadership of Ngozi Iweala as the supervising coordinator of the Nigerian economy. To give a honorary doctorate degree to an undeserving Nigerian by this world’s reknown university is the biggest slap on the faces of the 180 million Nigerians in 2015. I am using this social medium to appeal to the board of regents of this prestigious university to withdraw this honorary degree that they awarded to this Nigerian immediately and without any further delay for the sake of posterity

US Ambassador, Johnnie Carson, Talks 10 Ways To Repair U.S – Nigeria Ties

A senior adviser at the United States Institute of Peace, visiting senior fellow at Yale University, former assistant secretary of State for Africa and a former U.S. ambassador to Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe, Ambassador Johnnie Carson has penned down “more” than his two cents on how the U.S government can ceremonially and substantively can reach out to the incoming Buhari’s administration particularly at a time when the economy of Nigeria is on a downward slide.

1. President Obama should stop over in Nigeria when he visits East Africa in July.

Strengthening democratic institutions has been the administration’s number one priority in sub-Saharan Africa. President Obama is slated to visit Kenya, a longstanding economic, democratic and security partner, and Ethiopia, an important security partner whose democratic and human rights
performance has been strongly criticized in the international community. It would be deeply troubling for many Nigerians to see Africa’s largest democracy snubbed at this important moment in its history.

  1. President Obama should send a high level delegation to President Buhari’s inauguration in Abuja on May 29.

Ideally, this delegation should be led by Vice President Joe Biden, who engaged with both President Jonathan and with president-elect Buhari in the run-up to the presidential election. If he is unable to go, Secretary of State John Kerry, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson or Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack should lead the delegation, which should include senior officials from several cabinet departments, including the Department of Defense.

  1. 3. President Obama should formally invite President Buhari for an official visit soon.

If the White House does not send an appropriately high delegation to the inauguration in Abuja, an official visit takes on greater urgency.

  1. Washington should reinvigorate and elevate the U.S.-Nigerian strategic dialogue established by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

This dialogue should be placed on the same plane as those with India, Brazil and China, with Secretary Kerry leading the U.S. meeting in Washington and Deputy Secretary Antony Blinken leading subsequent meetings.

  1. The administration should deepen commercial and trade ties between Nigeria and the U.S.

It needs to build off of the successful U.S.-Africa business summit of 2014, and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, who has shown great interest in Africa, should be encouraged to travel to Nigeria with American business leaders and investors. Americans and Nigerians should organize high-level trade and investment conferences in Nigeria.

  1. The administration should re-establish and elevate the broken military relationship with Abuja.

This will require some sensitive diplomacy and the White House should send the Chairman or the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to demonstrate a strong commitment by the U.S. to get this important relationship right. Once this is done, the Africom commander can take the lead, but given the harsh feelings toward Nigeria at Africom headquarters and by some in the Pentagon, the Chairman or the Vice Chairman should go first.

  1. The State Department should revisit the establishment of a Consulate General in northern Nigeria, probably in Kano.

Nigeria has Africa’s largest Muslim population, concentrated in the northern region, and has the fifth largest Muslim population in the world. The United States has very little presence, access or influence in the north. Secretary Clinton approved the opening of a consulate in the north in 2009. The effort should be revisited as quickly as possible.

  1. The United States should help Nigeria with access to reliable, inexpensive and readily available power.

Lack of power is the most serious impediment to growing Nigeria’s economy. A country of 180 million people produces less power than New York City and its surrounding suburbs. President Jonathan’s inability to improve the situation is one the reasons he was thrown out of office. Power Africa has been one of the Obama administration’s most significant initiatives and it needs to double down on its efforts to assist Nigeria in addressing its energy needs by bringing together major American power producers to work with, partner and invest in Nigeria’s power sector.

  1. The administration should encourage an early trip to Nigeria by Agriculture Secretary Vilsack.

Leading American agro industry companies and the deans of some of America’s leading agricultural colleges should travel with him to help Nigeria revitalize and grow its agricultural sector. Once self-sufficient in food and one of Africa’s largest exporters of groundnuts, cocoa, cotton and palm oil, Nigeria is now a major food importer. Support for its agricultural sector offers another opportunity for serious and sustained engagement with a country whose population is expected to grow from 180 to more than 400 million by 2035.

  1. The administration should also consider revamping the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to support state governments.

In the past, the MCC has helped only national governments. Given the growing influence of states and the important work being done at the state level, the administration should seek changes in the MCC statute in order to help progressive, honest and forward thinking state governors whose states are performing well, implementing sound development projects and providing improved services to their people.

Nigeria is so important, and the administration should not miss this opportunity to engage with Nigeria’s new government. Strong support for Nigeria will help strengthen its democracy, support its economic growth and enhance its security and stability.

An economically vibrant and democratically robust Nigeria is in the interests of Africa, the United States and the broader global community.

APC Blasts Okonjo-Iweala For Absolving FG Over Unpaid Salaries

Governors on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, have fired back at the Minister of finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for absolving the Federal Government of any culpability over the inability of some state governments to pay their workers’ salaries.

Imo State Governor and Chairman, APC Governors Forum, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, who spoke on behalf of the Progressives Governors noted that President Goodluck Jonathan and the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, must take responsibility for unpaid salaries and the poor state of Nigeria’s economy.

The governor, who spoke on Thursday through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Sam Onwuemedo, argued that Okonjo-Iweala should not have shifted the blame since the complaint of the inability to pay salaries was also coming from some of the Peoples Democratic Party-controlled states.

Okorocha said, “God has begun to do something for Nigerians. The man, Buhari, who is coming in now, is a person who does not joke with discipline. When you talk about discipline, it is all-embracing. He will bring financial discipline into the system.

“By the time the man takes off, most of these things would be corrected. When the man at the helm of affairs is disciplined, invariably, other people must follow. Have you asked yourself the issue of the missing $20bn? All of a sudden, it was linked to somewhere. Nigeria is a rich country because God blessed this country. It will only take a strong leadership to get things moving.

“Buhari must set the ball rolling. Nigerians know why they voted for him. Even though he has said he will not probe anybody, but in the current situation we are, when it becomes necessary, with all these monies taken away by individuals, he should recover them for the country. If need be, he (Buhari) should put some of them on trial so that others will be very careful.

“A few Nigerians cannot be holding the entire nation to ransom. Whatever it takes to recover Nigeria’s money, it does not matter whose ox is gored; he should go ahead and do it. He must deviate from the old system for this country to move forward”.

Source – Daily post ng

Okonjo-iweala To Buhari: You Must Do Something About Oil Cartel

Nigeria’s finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has set an agenda for the Buhari administration: to tame urgently the oil cartel holding the nation to ransom.She spoke in Abuja today to refute the claim by the oil marketers that the nation is owing them another N200.2bn, just after the government paid them N156bn.

She said by government’s computation, the outstanding amount is about N131bn billion.Okonjo-Iweala urged the marketers to be patriotic in their decisions by considering the interest of Nigerians who always bear the brunt of their actions, noting that they should not by their actions hold the country to ransom.The marketers had claimed that the government’s indebtedness to them for oil subsidy was about N354,4bn.

Confirming the figure, the Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria,
Mr.Thomas Olawore, had said, “The government had paid N154.2bn out of N354.4bn and we areleft with a balance of N200.2bn.“What happens to the N200.2bn? That is why we requested that the government invite us sothat we can be told how it intends to liquidate the remaining N200.2bn.

But the minister said this figure could not be correct, noting that the balance that is left based on Petroleum Pricing Products Regulatory Agency’s template is about N131bn.She said, “As you know, we paid N156bn recently, N100bn of the principal payment that we owe them and then we paid N56bn interest rate and some remaining exchange rate differentials.“Prior to that, we have just paid N31bn exchange rate differentials. So at the time we paid that last week, what we had outstanding is N98bn.”According to her, every week, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency sends data and that is what government only subscribe and certified as what is due to marketers.“As at now, since we made the announcement last week, it has now risen from N98bn to N131bn outstanding in principle payment.“And they are now making a demand of N200bn and I asked them what is the balance for,” she added.

She likened the oil marketers to a small cartel that are into a no risk business based on template negotiated with PPPRA long time agowhich factored in exchange rate differential, and profit margin guarantee.This situation, she said, leaves them with absolutely no risk.She said. “It has become a situation where we have a cartel that can ground the nation to a halt at will. I strongly suggest that the nation has to do something about it.

Source: PMNews

I Won My Battle With Cancer 15 Years Ago – Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Minister of Finance Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala yesterday disclosed that she was diagnosed with cancer some years back and had her last surgery for it 15 years ago.

Mrs Okonjo-Iweala spoke about her experience at the Service of Songs for late Special Adviser to the President on Research and Documentation, Oronto Douglas yesterday April 30th. According to the Minister, she constantly used her experience to encourage Oronto during his battle with the disease which led to his death on April 9th.

“Oronto and I had two similarities in life, we both had cancer. I had my last surgery 15 years ago and I shared my experience with him,” she said.

She however did not state what type of cancer she had.

Okonjo-Iweala Tasks Buhari’s Administration On Policies

The Minister of Finance in Nigeria, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has urged the incoming administration of General Muhammadu Buhari to focus of making policies that would build up macro economic stability.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, who spoke on Nigeria Beyond Oil at a session at the ongoing World Bank/IMF spring meeting in Washington DC, listed key areas she expected the administration to look at.

She stressed the need for the new administration that would take over on May 29 to focus on diversification of the economy, rebuilding buffers and blocking of leakages.

The Minister, however, said that the policies, if well implemented, would address the shortfall in the revenue gotten from crude oil sales and in the long term, end poverty in Nigeria.

Listing some of the measures taken by President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to cushion the shortfall from oil resources, the Minister of Finance, gave further insight into what the incoming government could do to further save the economy.?

Dr Okonjo-Iweala is optimistic that the approach, backed by strong institutions to check cases of corruption, could bring the country out of its economic challenges.

The meeting was however interactive as participants at the session raised questions bordering on insecurity, health and the education sector.

The Minister further asked Nigerians to hold the government at all levels accountable for lapses experienced in some of the sectors.

Missing $20bn: House of Reps Gives Okonjo-Iweala 1 Week Ultimatum To Submit Forensic Audit Report

The House of Representatives has yesterday issued a one week ultimatum to the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the economy Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to submit the report of the forensic audit on the alleged missing $20bn
The mandate followed a resolution, passed last week by the House at plenary which directed its Committee on Public Accounts, to investigate the matter.

Chairman of the committee, Hon. Solomon Adeola Olamilekan (APC, Lagos) while briefing Journalists on the matter stated that the report “must include the Initial Draft Report, the Executive Summary and Management/Internal Control Letters.”

Olamilekan noted that the “condensed version” of the report released to the public through a press
conference addressed by the Auditor-General of the Federation with the highlight that Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) should remit a minimum of $1.48 billion to the Federation Account had rather prompted the demand for complete report.

He said: “Given the weighty allegation of possible loss of $20 billion to the Federation Account arising from alleged non-remittance by NNPC through the ministry of finance, it is curious that the forensic audit was commissioned and appointment of auditors was made by the minister of finance, an indictable official, if allegation is proven, without the involvement or at least input of the Auditor-General, whose office is eminently and exclusively empowered for the duty by the 1999 Constitution.”

He noted that “the report has been unduly delayed and its submission also side-stepped the Auditor-General. It is a professional best practice that such reports first come in draft, discussed, fine-tuned before the release of the final report, usually accompanied by the more detailed Management Letter.”