Former minister of finance and coordinating minister of the economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has responded to the statement of Femi Falana, a human rights lawyer, which linked her with the $2.1bn arms scandal.
The immediate past minister alleged that Falana made the statement because she “hurt the interests of his corrupt sponsors” while she was in office.
The human rights lawyer had on Sunday, January 24, urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute and arrest Okonjo-Iweala for failing to “prevent systematic and widespread corruption” in the previous administration.
According to a petition sent to the ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, Falana said the transfer of recovered $322 million loot of Sani Abacha to the former national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki, was “criminal”.
He therefore called for Okonjo-Iweala’s prosecution since the transactions took place under her watch.
Reacting in a statement today, Jan. 25, by her media adviser, Paul Nwabuikwu, the former minister said she transferred the funds to Dasuki after receiving approval from former president Goodluck Jonathan and securing guarantees that the money would be properly accounted for.
READ: Femi Falana accuses Dasuki, Okonjo-Iweala of diverting N7.5b Abacha loot
The statement read in part: “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 (ICC).
“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 name – 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.”
She expressed disappointment at Falana’s statements, saying: “It is sad that a person who had earned some prominence as a human rights lawyer now tramples on the human rights of others as a political jobber.”
She also listed some ‘facts’ that distances her from the arms scandal.
Support InfoStride News' Credible Journalism: Only credible journalism can guarantee a fair, accountable and transparent society, including democracy and government. It involves a lot of efforts and money. We need your support. Click here to Donate