Lagos lawyer Femi Falana has called on Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the ex-minister of finance, to apologize to Nigerians for withdrawing of $2 billion from the Excess Crude Account (ECA). He also advised her to stop denying her role in the mismanagement of Nigeria’s economy.
Adams Oshiomhole, the governor of Edo state, had alleged that the $2 billion from the ECA was withdrawn “without authorisation” of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee.
Reacting to the allegation, Okonjo-Iweala stated that the money was used to pay for fuel subsidy under instructions from Goodluck Jonathan.
Commenting on the recent development, the Lagos lawyer said:
“Assuming without conceding that the release of the $2 billion was approved by the president, is Mrs Okonjo-Iweala saying funds belonging to the three tiers of government could be unilaterally withdrawn from the ECA by the federal government? As the coordinating minister of the economy, did she draw the attention of President Jonathan to the illegality of withdrawing funds from the ECA without approval of the states and the local governments, the co-owners of the fund?”
Falana noted in his statement that despite the alleged payment of $2 billion for fuel subsidy in December 2014, fuel marketers have continued their strike over alleged unpaid N200 billion by the ministry of finance.
“In 2011, the National Assembly appropriated N245 billion for fuel subsidy. Without any amendment of the Appropriation Act, 2011, by way of supplementary budget, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala unilaterally paid N2.5 trillion to fuel marketers. Investigations by the House of Representatives and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission have confirmed that the bulk of the fund was paid to members of a cabal, who did not supply any fuel. Was it the FAAC or President Jonathan that authorised the World Bank expert to engage in the fraudulent payment of over N2 trillion to fake fuel importers?
“Having admitted that the withdrawal of the $2 billion by her was authorised by President Jonathan and not by FAAC as she had previously claimed, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala ought to apologise to Nigerians. And instead of resorting to shifting blame in the circumstance, the former minister should stop denying her principal role in the gross mismanagement of the neo-colonial economy of the country,” the lawyer said.
Meanwhile, Oshiomhole has again attacked the former president Goodluck Jonathan and his minister of finance for denying Edo state about N10 billion over four years.