By Ibidapo Balogun
Former Minister of finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. (Mrs) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said that the allegation that she withdrew $2.1billion dollars from the Excess Crude Account was false.
The National Economic Council chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had on Monday accused Okonjo-Iweala of spending $2.1 bn from the Excess Crude Account without authorisation.
But denying the allegation in a statement issued by her former Special Adviser Media, Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu, on Tuesday in Abuja, the former minister said:
“The allegation by some governors that former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala spent 2.1 billion dollars out of the Excess Crude Account without authorisation is false, malicious and totally without foundation.
“We want to state categorically that no unauthorised expenditure from the ECA was 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,” she said.
The former minister said the esteemed NEC and the persons behind these allegations acted as if the constitutionally-recognised FAAC, a potent expression of Nigeria’s fiscal federalism, does not exist.
She said Nigerians know that collective revenues, allocations and expenditures of the three tiers of government were the concern of the monthly FAAC meetings.
The ex-minister also acknowledged the efforts of governors working hard to overcome the current revenue challenges facing their states
The statement added that the Okonjo-Iweala was ready and willing to respond to legitimate enquiries about issues under her purview as Finance Minister.
She added that the Finance Ministry had published news release and 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.