ABUJA, (CAJ News) – THE former Minister of Finance, Dr NgoziOkonjo-Iweala, has scoffed at the demand for her probe by theSocio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) over corruption charges.
The former minister said the demand is a politically sponsored action by acompromised civil society organization.“It is curious that SERAP, ignoring more worthy issues, decided to embarkon this fishing expedition of a ten-year old process that was handled inan exemplary and transparent fashion.
This shows that neither the organization nor its charges should be taken seriously,” she said.“The Okonjo-Iweala name is impregnable because it is built on impeccablepersonal and professional integrity.
The facts show that as Finance Minister under the Obasanjo and Jonathan administrations, she was a forcefor good who managed the country’s finances transparently and with greatcompetence.
”She added that SERAP neglected to tell the world that World Bank actively collaborated with the Federal Ministry of Finance on a 2006 field reportwhich analyzed how the repatriated funds were used.
Okonjo-Iweala recalled that, as part of the repatriation process, the Swiss government requested and the Nigerian government under President Obasanjo agreed that the World Bank should monitor the use of the fundsex-military ruler Sani Abacha had looted and banked offshore.
The field survey, released in 2006, is titled “Utilization of RepatriatedAbacha loot: Results of the Field Monitoring Exercise”.It shows that specific funds were indeed transparently programmed and used to boost the budgets of specific target ministries in 2004 and 2005.
The former minister said the document also confirmed these funds wereproperly appropriated and channeled into roads, electricity, education,water and health across all six geo-political zones of Nigeria.“The survey shows that as at 2006 when the report was issued, these projects were in place.
The report also shows that credible civil societygroups were part of the survey and that all sampled projects exist and canbe located on the ground.
”Okonjo-Iweala said calls by SERAP that she be personally probed for atransparently conducted and publicly implemented decision of the Obasanjogovernment that she served under underscored the political agenda ofSERAP.“We advise SERAP to change its ways and stop wasting the time of Nigerianswith fruitless and sponsored campaigns against innocent individuals,” she said.
– CAJ News