Ex Minister For Finance Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Replies Femi Falana

Former Minister for Finance and Coordinator of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi
Okonjo-Iweala came down hard on Lagos Lawyer, Mr.

image

Femi Falana, describing
his attempt to drag her into the arms deal scandal as malicious.
Iweala, in a reply signed by her Media Aide, Mr. Paul Nwabuiku, described
Falana as a man suffering from “Chronic Cerebral Amnesia (CCA) because he
simply has no grasp of the facts.”
The former Minister’s reply to Falana reads:

OKONJO-IWEALA: A STRONG TRANSPARENCY ADVOCATE AND ANTI-CORRUPTION FIGHTER

A RESPONSE TO FEMI FALANA, AN INTEGRITY-CHALLENGED CHARLATAN (ICC)
The malicious attempt by Lagos Lawyer, Femi Falana to mix Dr Ngozi
Okonjo-Iweala up in issues that have nothing to do with her in his letter
to the International Criminal Court (ICC) is a desperate joke by an
integrity challenged charlatan (ICC).
This misadventure shows that the so-called learned lawyer does not have
any idea of what the mandate of the ICC is about.
He has resorted to this action because his previous efforts to tarnish her
name – through his discredited NGO, SERAP and petitions to the EFCC –
failed because they were lacking in credibility.
This latest effort to try to attach her name falsely confirms that Femi
Falana is nothing but a tool of corrupt elements whose interests were hurt
by the work Dr. Okonjo-Iweala did in fighting corruption while she was in
office.
These elements have now made a habit of making false allegations against
Dr Okonjo-Iweala whenever she receives any national or international
recognition for her work. The pattern is clear and Nigerians should be
alert to it. But Dr Okonjo-Iweala will not be intimidated from going on
with her life and performing her duties. She will not give in to cowardly
and unmanly bullying.
Falana’s latest attempt to implicate Dr Okonjo-Iweala falsely suggests
that he is suffering from an ailment that may be described as Chronic
Cerebral Amnesia (CCA) because he simply has no grasp of the facts.
Here are the facts:

​​
FACT NO 1: OKONJO-IWEALA HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE $2.1 BILLION ARMS
CONTROVERSY

Contrary to Falana’s lies, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala has absolutely nothing to do
with the alleged misuse of $2.1billion by the office of the former
National Security Adviser. Falana and his sponsors are simply trying to
invent a connection where there is none.
The January 20, 2015 memo in which Dr Okonjo-Iweala sought and received
the approval of former President Jonathan for the release of part of the
newly returned Abacha funds to the NSA for purchase of arms is totally
separate from the $2.1 billion issue.
The memo which is now in the public domain speaks for itself. The release
of the resources was in response to an approval by the former President
following a meeting chaired by him after a committee had considered the
request.
The memo clearly documented Dr Okonjo-Iweala’s insistence that the proper
procedure be followed, subject to appropriation and according to financial
regulations. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala went further to state that the former NSA
should account for the funds to the former President since she is not a
member of the Security Council. The attempt to link Okonjo-Iweala to the
$2.1billion issue is therefore dead on arrival.
FACT NO 2: OKONJO-IWEALA WAS NOT IN GOVERNMENT WHEN MOST OF THE ABACHA
FUNDS WERE RECOVERED
Falana and his sponsors have claimed that billions of dollars of Abacha
funds were recovered and that Dr Okonjo-Iweala should account for the
recovered funds.
The fact is that some of the funds recovery was done under the regime of
General Abdulsalami Abubakar and the first term of President Olusegun
Obasanjo when Dr Okonjo-Iweala was not even in government.
During the time Dr Okonjo-Iweala was Finance Minister in the second
Obasanjo administration, $500m was recovered. As documented by the Field
Study conducted by the World Bank with the assistance of national and
international NGOs, this amount was properly applied.
Falana’s insistence on the contrary shows how despicable he is and how he
is ready to ignore facts and concoct a fiction in the service of his
sponsors.
FACT 3: OKONJO-IWEALA LEFT STRONG LEGACIES AS A CHAMPION OF TRANSPARENCY
AND THE FIGHT AGAINST
​ CORRUPTION WHILE IN GOVERNMENT
It is on record that Dr. Okonjo-Iweala championed transparency and
vigorously fought corruption during her two terms as Minister. Among other
actions, starting from the second Obasanjo administration, she, for the
first time in Nigeria’s history, published monthly revenue allocations to
all tiers of government for Nigerians to see.

​​While serving in the Obasanjo administration, she requested
the assistance of the World Bank and DFID, the UK’s development agency to
build institutions and systems that could block leakages from the
treasury. This work stalled after she left office in 2006. In August 2011
when she returned under the Jonathan government, with the assistance of
the Ministry of Finance Team, she re-invigorated the establishment and use
of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Management Systems (IPPIS), the
Government Integrated Financial Management System (GIFMIS) and the
Treasury Single Account (TSA), all of which saved the country billions of
naira by drastically reducing avenues for corruption in the public
service. These facts are well documented in successive World Bank, DFID
and IMF Article 4 Reports.
It is gratifying that the present government has adopted and is further
building on these systems for the benefit of the country.
FACT NO 4: DR. OKONJO-IWEALA’S MOTHER WAS KIDNAPPED AND ALMOST KILLED
BECAUSE OF THE FORMER MINISTER’S STANCE AGAINST CORRUPTION

Falana is callous beyond belief for ignoring a fact of recent Nigerian
history: the kidnap of Professor Kamene Okonjo, the then 83 year old
mother of Dr Okonjo-Iweala by agents of fuel subsidy fraudsters who were
angry that the former Minister had blocked them from defrauding the
country further.
The kidnappers had told the traumatised old woman that they were sent to
punish Okonjo-Iweala for refusing to pay some oil marketers. It is on
record with the State Security Services that the kidnappers initially
demanded the resignation of Dr Okonjo-Iweala in return for the release of
her mother. Thank God Professor Okonjo is still alive to tell her story
today and she will not be silenced.
It is extremely insensitive and, in fact, inhumane for Falana and his
sponsors to level false accusations against someone like Dr Okonjo-Iweala
who went through this kind of searing personal ordeal for her principled
fight against corruption.
CONCLUSION
Falana’s attempt to implicate Dr Okonjo-Iweala falsely is a disservice to
law, justice and the image of the country. It is sad that a person who had
earned some prominence as a human rights lawyer now tramples on the human
rights of others as a political jobber.
He and his sponsors are engaged in nothing but media harassment, cyber
bullying and intimidation against innocent persons like Dr Okonjo-Iweala
for political and pecuniary gain. That is why Nigerians should not give in
to Falana’s self-imposed Chronic Cerebral Amnesia (CCA).

Paul C Nwabuikwu

Media Adviser to Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

About Faith Irabor 1036 Articles
Welcome on board!!! Faith Irabor is just like your everyday girl next door with strong survival instincts. Am an International Journalist, Events planner and Blogger whose media journey dates back to June 2002 as a TV presenter with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Ile-Ife Osun State while I was having my National Diploma in Mass Communication. I left NTA in 2005 to pursue my B.SC in Mass Communication at the Olabisi Onabanjo University OOU Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State and finished in 2008 before joining one of Nigeria's best investigative Tabloids (National Enquirer Magazine & www.enquirermag.blogspot.com). I am very privileged to be trained by one of the industry's bests, my boss and mentor Mr. Tunde Moshood Jr, the former Editor of the defunct Fame Magazine, Publisher of National Enquirer and president Miss Global Nigeria who taught me everything I know in Journalism especially the investigative aspect which is the fulfilment of being a member of the Fourth Estate of Realm (as we journalists are usually officially addressed). My desire to take my journalism practice beyond the Newspaper & Magazine came from the passion I have derived over the years from investigative journalism as Online Media is the best platform to tell a story or news the very minute it’s at your disposal without wasting time. I promise to serve you nothing but exclusive and interesting news, interviews, events, articles from around the world and please feel free to email me on faith.irabor@faithirabor.com on spotted errors as well as ideas that would make me do better as there is no perfect being anywhere except God. Now scroll up, click on any of the stories and please drop your comment!!!!

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