The Federation Account Allocation Committee on Tuesday faulted comments credited to ex-Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, that it approved the withdrawal of $2bn from the Excess Crude Account. The committee, in a statement issued on its behalf by Forum of Finance Commissioners in Abuja, stated that the law setting it up did not give it the power to approve withdrawals from the ECA.
Okonjo-Iweala while responding to allegations made by state governors that she made withdrawals from the ECA without authorisation, had said that issues relating to expenditure were usually discussed at FAAC meetings attended by finance commissioners of the 36 states of the federation. Reacting to the ex-minister’s comments, the committee said that Okonjo-Iweala’s explanation “is far from the fact and is misleading.”
It said, “We wish to state unequivocally that FAAC does not have the authority to approve withdrawals from the ECA and, therefore, could not have approved the withdrawal from the Excess Crude (Foreign) Account the sum of $2bn.
“According to the law setting up FAAC, which pre-dates the ECA, it cannot approve withdrawal and has not done so in the past. If anything, FAAC, as records of its meetings indicate, had often queried the activities on the ECA, and, therefore, did not decide any withdrawal.”
And in what seems to be a sharp twist, Okonjo-Iweala has fingered ex-President Goodluck Jonathan for the ‘missing’ $2.1 billion. Again speaking on Okonjo-Iweala’s behalf, Paul Nwabuikwu, stated: “(The $2.1 billion) Payments made were used for petroleum subsidies for the Nigerian people and were approved by Mr. President (Goodluck Jonathan). Therefore, there is no question of mismanaging any resources here.”
This is the kind of fiscal regime Jonathan ran and Okonjo-Iweala as coordinating minister of the economy played errand girl to. A whopping $2.1 billion was spent by presidential fiat, which the FAAC knew nothing about. She didn’t refuse to sign it out and lose her job or do the honourable thing and resign to keep her integrity. If NEC cannot dock Jonathan, it should dock Okonjo-Iweala publicly; make her explain to Nigerians how she coordinated our economy in matters like this. KH
IMAGES: Okonjo-Iweala, her spokesman Paul Nwabuikwu, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Adams Oshiomhole[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]