Premium Times (Abuja)

Nigeria: Okonjo-Iweala Fails to Clarify Missing N8 Trillion - Says There's a Campaign of Falsehood Against Her

Photo: Daily Trust
Oil barrels, Nigeria

The N8 trillion fraud President Goodluck Jonathan in cohort with the Petroleum and Okonjo-Iweala is attempting to sweep under the carpet ranks as one of the biggest frauds in the history of the country.

Instead of explaining to Nigerians how over N8 trillion that should have accrued to the country from the sales of oil between January 2012 and July 2013 was diverted by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Tuesday lashed out at those she claimed have mounted a "campaign of falsehoods and distortions" against her.

In press statement released on Tuesday evening, in an apparent response to a PREMIUM TIMES exclusive story of how the NNPC, under the watch of the petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, illegally corners 76 percent of all crude oil sales, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala said she "has been the subject of high profile media attacks from several quarters" by elements whose aim is to unduly politicise her management of the country's economy.

The report had suggested that Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, as coordinating minister for the economy, failed to act even after she became aware of the alleged fraud.

"The pronouncements of these political vested interests are based on false information and outright lies disguised as objective comments. Fortunately Nigerians are wise to their antics and this campaign to damage the name of the Coordinating Minister, like previous ones, will fail," a statement by her media adviser, Paul Nwabuikwu, said.

While utterly ignoring the issues raised in the report, the minister loosely promised to clarify specific issues where she deemed appropriate.

"We urge Nigerians to continue to be vigilant to the increasingly desperate actions of these elements. Where appropriate, we will continue to clarify the issues and point out the true situation in specific areas of the country's economic management."

The N8 trillion fraud President Goodluck Jonathan, in cohort with the Petroleum and Finance ministers, is desperately attempting to sweep under the carpet ranks as one of the biggest frauds in the history of the country.

The lid on the fraud was blown by the governor of the Central Bank, Lamido Sanusi, in a memo to Mr. Jonathan last September.

According to Mr. Sanusi, for all crude oil sales within the period, the NNPC paid only 24 percent proceeds into the federation account, and diverted or stole the remaining 76 percent-totalling N8 trillion.

Mr. Sanusi accused the NNPC of breaching two key federal laws and urged the president to order a sweeping investigation and prosecution of those found culpable.

But two months on the president is yet to act on the shocking memo.

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