The Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), a Nigerian prominent anti corruption coalitions, has petitioned the chairman, Code of Conduct Bureau to immediately prosecute the immediate past Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, for “abuse of office and contravention of institutionalized procedures for public office holders while in office”.
The petition to the Bureau, signed by its chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, the coalition criticized the illegal steps the former minister of the economy allegedly disbursed funds recovered from late Sanni Abacha. According to the group, the former minister misled Nigerians by giving false information on how the said fund was utilized.
The petition read:
“In the past weeks, Nigerians have been inundated with revelations of how the former National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki misappropriated the sum of $300million and £5.5 million which was meant for the purchase of arms and ammunition to enable the military combat the insurgency orchestrated by Boko Haram,”
“Further revelation and reports have also shown that the said funds from the recovered Abacha fund was illegally transferred to the Office of the National Security Adviser by the immediate past Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
The CSNAC pointed out that the former finance minister, had in a letter dated the 20th of January 2015, addressed to the former president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, sought his approval for the funds to be disbursed to the ONSA for procurement of arms to fight the Boko Haram insurgency.
The group pointed further that since the said funds did not pass through proper appropriation by the National Assembly before they were transferred, the disbursement was illegal and unlawful.
as the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, it behoves her to ensure that transfer of the said funds was carried out according to established laws and to also ensure that they were properly utilized. She therefore abdicated her responsibility to Dr. Jonathan to demand accounts of the funds from Mr. Dasuki,
“Furthermore at several fora, Dr. Iweala had misled Nigerians with false information on the utilization of proceeds of the recovered Abacha funds by the previous administration.
“She had on several occasions stated that the funds had been spent on road constructions, power generation, schools and other developmental projects across the country.”
Describing Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s action as a clear case of abuse of powers and breach of provisions of Code of Conduct for public officers, the group quoted Paragraph 9, Part 1 of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers under the 5th Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which says that “A public officer shall not do or direct to be done, in abuse of his office, any arbitrary act prejudicial to the rights of any other person knowing that such act is unlawful or contrary to any government policy.”
Standing on the provision made in the constitution, Mr, Suraju went further to say that Dr. Iweala has clearly acted contrary to government policy, thereby breaching the provisions of the Code of Conduct for public officers.
“If she had followed due process in the transfer of the funds by seeking the approval of the National Assembly, the country would have been saved from this huge mess. Thousands of Nigerians have and are still losing their lives and have become displaced in their own country due to the terrorist activities.
“Our gallant soldiers have been made to fight the war without adequate equipments and have been court martial for daring to complain. Yet, all of these happened due to the activities of unpatriotic and corrupt officials who were encouraged by the laxity and abuse of office on the part of the former finance minister.
“CSNAC is therefore by this petition demanding the prosecution of Dr. Okonjo-Iweala for abusing her office as finance minister by illegally transferring the said funds to the Office of the National Security Adviser.
“You will agree with us that public officers need to be made to realize that the powers conferred on them by their offices are not arbitrary and are subject to scrutiny and control at all times. The prosecution of Dr. Iweala will contribute immensely in conveying that message to all public officers.” He said.
The code of conduct bureau is however yet to respond to the petition.
Meanwhile, Nduka Obaigbena, editor-in-chief and chairman of Thisday, has opened up on N650 million he received from the national security adviser Sambo Dasuki. Operatives of the anti-graft commission are investigating how $2.1bn money meant for the purchase of arms disappeared from the office of the ex-NSA.