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‘Buhari’s Accusations Unrealistic’, Jonathan Breaks Silence on Corruption Probe

Nigeria’s former president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has described as unrealistic, figures being bandied by President Buhari’s government alleging his government was corrupt.

Speaking after a press conference to receive a democracy award in Geneva, Switzerland, Jonathan urged caution about the figures being elicited by Buhari’s government regarding corruption.

“Sometimes people think that I was president since the independence (of Nigeria) and not for five years. Sometimes they say that we have lost over $150 billion in funds in the five years that I was president,” Jonathan told Quartz.

“Because of politics, some people come up with more money and say that $49.8 billion were missing within 18 months, ” Jonathan added.

Last week, Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s information minister claimed 55 people, including former governors, cabinet ministers and other government officials stole $9 billion from the country’s treasury. That according to Buhari’s government included $2.1 billion intended for the purchase of weapons to fight Boko Haram.

Jonathan also referred to allegations in December 2013 of non-remittance of $49.8 billion in oil revenue by the country’s public oil authority, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). At the time, Lamido Sanusi, the central bank governor told Jonathan about tens of billions owed to the state, in a letter that was leaked to the press. Sanusi was later fired.

“The same person who raised the issue, within two days said the money was $12 billion, and the two days later said it was $20 billion,” Jonathan said.

“Regarding the $9 billion,” he added, “The truth will come out.”

In October, Jonathan’s former oil minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke was arrested in the United Kingdom for bribery and money laundering.

Jonathan became a global hero when he left office. In the run-up to the elections in March, Africa’s largest economy had seemed on the brink. Boko Haram insurgents were running riot, rumors of corruption were growing daily and the threat of conflict and political crisis if the election results were contested.

But instead of triggering a crisis, Jonathan stood aside when rival Muhammadu Buhari was clearly winning the vote. Many experts think his early concession spared the country from conflict and he has rightly got praise and more recently awards for his role.

 

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