Former Finance Minister Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has denied spending $2.1 billion Excess Crude Account cash “without authorisation” and has offered to face any enquiry over the allegation.
The National Economic Council (NEC) made the allegation on Monday after its meeting in Abuja. Paul Nwabuikwu, Media Adviser to Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, said ”the allegation by some governors is false, malicious and totally without foundation.”
Nwabuikwu, in a statement yesterday, said there was “no unauthorised expenditure from the ECA made under Okonjo-Iweala’s watch in the Finance Ministry. Decisions on such expenditure were discussed at meetings of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) attended by Finance commissioners from the 36 states.”
Against this background, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala maintained that the idea that she “spent $2.1 billion ‘without authorisation’ is simply not credible given that details of government receipts and expenditure are public knowledge”.
The former minister asked how “some governors who fought Federal Government’s efforts to leave robust savings in the ECA and even took the Federal Government to court over the matter turned around to make such unfounded allegations?”
The statement said: “It is curious that in their desperation to use the esteemed National Economic Council for political and personal vendetta, the persons behind these allegations acted as if the constitutionally- recognised FAAC, a potent expression of Nigeria’s fiscal federalism, does not exist. Nigerians know that collective revenues, allocations and expenditures of the three tiers of government are the concern of the monthly FAAC meetings.”
Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said she acknowledged “the efforts of governors who are working hard to overcome the current revenue challenges facing their states without resorting to character assassination and blame games”.
However, the former minister said she “is ready and willing to respond to legitimate enquiries about issues under her purview as Finance Minister. But it is clear that this is the latest chapter of a political witch-hunt by elements who are attempting to use the respected National Economic Council for ignoble purposes having failed abysmally in their previous attempts to the Okonjo-Iweala name.”
Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala and her team lamented that “one of such attempts took place in May when some of these governors, hiding under the auspices of the Nigerian Governors Forum asked Okonjo-Iweala to explain $20 billion alleged to be missing from the same ECA”.
The Finance ministry, she said, subsequently issued a news release and published an advertorial in national newspapers on May 25, 2015, giving details of what the Federal Government and states received from the ECA in the last four years. It also provided details of the use of the funds for payment of petrol subsidies for the Nigerian public and SURE-P allocations to the three tiers for development purposes.
Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said she “pioneered the practice of publishing monthly updates of all allocations to different tiers of government in order to empower Nigerians with information and knowledge of government revenues and expenditure. This enabled the Nigerian public to ask questions about the utilisation of these resources. Of course, many elected and appointed public officials were not happy with this development.”
She said she continued this practice when she returned in 2011 and even added periodic updates on the Excess Crude Account, subsidy payments for verified claims by oil marketers for fuel imports as well as SURE-P payments to the three tiers of government.
In the advertorial published in some newspapers on May 25, Dr. Okonjo Iweala explained that between 2011 and 2014, the Federal Government collected N3.29 trillion from the ECA while the states shared N2.92 trillion.
She said subsidy and SURE-P payments were also made from the ECA.
The ex-minister said in the advertorial:
“The figures show that they received N966.6 billion in 2011, N816.3 billion in 2012, N859.4 billion in 2013 and N282.8 in 2014. The low figure for 2014 reflects the steep decline in revenues due to the impact of the crash in global oil prices which began in the middle of the year.
“The summary of the inflows and outflows from the Account shows that the opening balance was $4.56billion in 2011 and reached a peak the following year at $8.7 billion before declining to $2.3billion in 2013. The balance as at May 2015 is $2.07 billion.
“Subsidy and SURE-P payments are also made from the Excess Crude Account.
“FG’s share from the ECA during the period was N3.29 trillion.”


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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