Immediate-past Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has described as ‘malicious’, attempts by Lagos lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), to link her with the $2.1 billion arms scandal.
Falana had written the International Criminal Court (ICC) asking it to investigate those allegedly involved in the arms deal, including the former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (Retd.) now facing trial.
Media Assistant to the former minister, Mr. Paul Nwabuiku, said in a statement on Monday (yesterday):
‘’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.
‘’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 image, 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.
‘’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 $2.1 billion issue is therefore dead on arrival.”