Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, on Thursday insisted that former Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and others found to be involved in the mismanagement of funds meant for the purchase of arms for the military under the previous administration of President Goodluck Jonathan be prosecuted.
The governor spoke at a National Dialogue organised to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the National Human Rights Commission and the International Human Rights Day.
This came as a civil society organisation, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), asked Okonjo Iweala, to apologise to Nigerians for claiming recently that recovered Abacha loot was transparently spent when she knew that $322 million recovered from the late military Head of State, General Sani Abacha, was inappropriately released to finance the fight against Boko Haram.
Oshiomhole faulted the claim by former minister that she released part of the funds recovered from the loot of Abacha to the immediate past National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
The governor argued that the federal government’s effort to recover stolen funds under the Jonathan era would not be complete without the former’s prosecution.
He accused Okonjo-Iweala of supervising and coordinating the mismanagement of the nation’s economy. He said: “All I am just saying is that we are in a constitutional democracy. We are not under an informal arrangement. And when you listen to all the narratives, all the disclosure and defence, you will realise that the federal government needs to prosecute everybody, not to exempt anyone.
“For example, I have read in the newspapers and online, the former Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister for the Economy saying that she transferred part of the money recovered from Abacha to Dasuki for security purpose.
“Now, the first question the media should ask is, even under conditions of war, money must be appropriated. And the National Assembly, I recall very well, when Aminu Tambuwal was the Speaker of the House of Representatives, they reconvened on Sunday in order to attend to an urgent matter submitted by the president. So, the Constitution is very clear.
“Money was looted and foreign countries helped us to recover that money and a minister assisted in ensuring that that money is re-looted again. And she is there in Washington and you are here languishing.
“I am saying that she also must be brought to justice. They say it is Ali Baba and the forty thieves. Now, you are dealing with the forty thieves and. Ali Baba is left alone. The Ali Baba, in this case, Okonjo-Iweala, who supervised, who coordinated the economy, who signed for the release of this money in clear breach of the Constitution, must be tried.
“They must all be investigated. I don’t like the word probe. What are you probing. The facts have been acknowledged, she has admitted that she transferred money. This same Okonjo-Iweala, few months back, had said in the media that Abacha loot was used for development.
“That was what she said then, only for her to turn around yesterday to say no, it was used for security. But whether for development or for security, was Abacha loot covered in the appropriation?” President Muhammadu Buhari was represented by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), at the occasion which was co-organised by the NHRC and the Nigerian Bar Association.
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