One of Nigeria’s highest profile and best-regarded former government ministers Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is caught up in a widening $2 billion arms
procurement scandal which has already led to the arrest of the former National Security Adviser (NSA) Col. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd.), with former state governors, businessmen and media moguls (i.e. TV & newspaper(s)) roped in.
Photo above: Former minister Okonjo Iweala as a Time 100 honoree 2014. (Reuters/Lucas Jackson)
Okonjo-Iweala, a former World Bank vice president, who was once in the running for the insititution’s presidency, had been at the heart of the, now tainted, Goodluck Jonathan presidency in the powerful dual role of minister of finance and coordinating minister of the Nigerian economy. She is one of the few ex-members of Jonathan’s government with much credibility on the global stage.
However, Nigeria’s financial crimes agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), appears set to summon the former Minister of Finance & Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okojo-Iweala to shed more light (if she was aware) on the issue of money laundering and what she probably knows about the arms budget said to have been diverted by stalwarts of one of Nigerian political parties, unarguably, the PDP.
Indications emerged last night that the Federal Government would extend its dragnet towards apprehending and prosecuting more individuals and groups which allegedly helped themselves with huge funds meant for the acquisition of arms for the armed forces, leaving the soldiers to fight with bare hands.
Already, operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission probing how funds meant for arms were diverted and stolen by top politicians, have stumbled on fresh evidence that senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria were actively involved in the transfer of funds to the suspects.
The operatives are upset that rather than help to protect the fortunes of the country, the said officials aided and abetted politicians to bolt away with the nation’s scarce resources.
The agency also discovered that most of the records which the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, used in collecting the huge sums of public funds from the relevant government agencies and paying the sludge funds to the politicians, were not kept in the office of the embattled NSA.
It was learnt last night that EFCC operatives were set to summon the former Minister of Finance & Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okojo-Iweala and some top officials of the CBN to shed more light on what they know about the arms budget said to have been diverted by bigwigs of one of the political parties.