‘Missing N30 trillion’: SERAP replies Okonjo-Iweala

Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has urged the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to “embrace constructive engagement on issues of human rights, transparency and accountability,” and “to avoid sound bite and opportunistic attacks on civil society organizations simply working to make the government fit for purpose so that it can function to improve the conditions of millions of marginalized and disadvantaged Nigerians.”
 
SERAP’s comments came after Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala last week in a statement lambasted the group for instituting a lawsuit against her over the claim by a former Central Bank governor, Chukwuma Soludo, that Nigeria has lost as much as N30 trillion to corruption and mismanagement.
 
Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said it was “a politically motivated suit against her based on the discredited N30 trillion allegation by Professor Charles Soludo. The suit confirms that SERAP is nothing but a political tool of the opposition hiding behind the façade of advocacy. Like their previous efforts, this latest one will fail because Nigerians can see through their antics. The latest in the campaign of falsehood and politicization of the economy by persons and groups who are getting more desperate by the day, because the economy, despite their propaganda, was still standing and will continue to stand. We look forward to meeting SERAP in court.”
 
But SERAP in a statement on Sunday by its executive director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, said, “We are disappointed that Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala’s response offers little in terms of dealing with the real issue and why the Minister failed to respond to a valid freedom of information request made under the law signed by this government. While we do not intend to go into the substance of the case now in court, we are compelled to respond to the misleading and entirely unfounded allegation that SERAP is a tool in the hand of the opposition party, All Progressives Congress, APC.”
 
The organization said that “it strives to ensure that its human rights and accountability work meet the highest standards of analytical rigor devoid of politics. While we very much welcome any constructive criticism aimed at reinforcing our ability to meet these standards, we totally reject the accusation by Mrs Okonjo-Iweala that we are a tool for the APC.”
 
 “To be sure, SERAP is completely independent of any political party, ideology, or economic interest. Our work is driven solely by the fundamental principles of justice, impartiality, solidarity and universality of human rights. For us, no government regardless of the political party they represent, is beyond scrutiny and accountability,” the organization said.
 
“Just to cite a few examples: SERAP has filed cases against the Lagos State Government, the latest being a freedom of information suit on the spending of the World Bank loan of $90 million meant to improve education in the 639 public secondary schools, and on the increased tuition fees for the students of Lagos State University (LASU). We have also obtained a judgment by the ECOWAS Court of Justice in a suit we brought against the Rivers State Government over demolition of some houses in the state. Lagos and Rivers states are APC states,” the organization said.
 
According to the organization, “These examples alone make it untenable to attribute SERAP’s work to political bias. Moreover, the Minister’s allegations fly in the face of commendations for SERAP from government agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and Independent Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC). International NGOs like Amnesty International and Transparency International have also recognized SERAP’s non-partisan work in the field of human rights, transparency and accountability.”
 
The organization said its FOI request and suit are “based on the constitutional and international responsibilities of the government to millions of Nigerians who are victims of corruption, and the unique position of trust by the Minister to promote the ideal of a corruption-free society. We believe that it is through actions like this that the government can be motivated to live up to its commitments and to meet the expectations of Nigerians for good governance, human rights and the rule of law.”
 
SERAP had instituted the case against the Minister for “failure to provide information about spending of the alleged missing N30trillion”, which the group said represented “some accruable income to the Federal Government in the past four years”.
 
The suit number FHC/L/CS/196/2015, filed at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, followed a Freedom of Information request by the civil society group to the Minister dated February 2. SERAP’s suit followed the disclosure by Mr. Soludo in an article that over N30 trillion was missing, or stolen, or unaccounted for, or simply mismanaged under the minister’s watch.


DOWNLOAD THE PREMIUM TIMES MOBILE APP

Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

TEXT AD: Revealed!!! The Only Way Left of Getting an Extra Large Manhood and also Last Up to 38Mins+. Get the Insider Secret Here


TEXT AD: This NAFDAC APPROVED Solution Will Make You Stay Longer Than 40Mins In Bed Tonight And Help Your Erection. Click Here To Read The Free Reports


All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.


  • amazing2012

    Don’t mind Aunty Ngozie she is confused !

  • God dey

    Over to u Ngozi Baby! On 28 March I stand

  • Sumanguru Horop

    Na my auntie abeg leave am alone

  • Guguru

    Aunty Ngozi feels stressed when asked very basic questions. Ngozi, a supposed American trained Economists seems to approach issues no differently than the people you might find in Mushin or Amukoko.

    • Arkhuma

      I am from Amukoko and I would not think the way she does. Please do not stereotype. Most people in Amukoko or Mushin or the other countless disadvantaged areas are not there by choice but by circumstance foisted upon them by successive corrupt and directionless government, the height of which we’ve been exposed to for the past six years be it at the federal or local government levels.

      On the issue at hand, it is only someone that has something to hide that would be jittery and even become uncouth when asked to render stewardship of what was kept under his/her control. Madam Ngozi is aware that the treasury is almost bare due to the wanton looting that has characterized this government. Please SERAP continue your good work and please direct your searchlight to the local governments because evidence abound even in Lagos state of LG chairmen building palaces and mansion in the midst of their poverty stricken neighborhood.

      On our part as citizens, let us use this opportunity for change to effect real change. We won’t have it again till another four years and once they get in we can’t even recall them where it is constitutional to do so because by then, they would have cornered our resources to frustrate the process. Vote for change.

      • Guguru

        Arkhuma,

        For a person from Amukoko, given the obstacles you probably faced before reaching the pinnacle of your intellectual height, I respect your sound thoughts. Well done.

    • Oluwafumilayou Ajani

      I think you have your brains in your bottom, because if not you will not say what you have said. I’m not suprised your name is guguru and the best you have to offer can only go for the price of guguru. Madam Iweala will never be stressed answering credible civil society. But a civil society sponsored by politicians to propagate lies, and create scandals will not be responded to. This is because they are expected to do their home work well before coming forward. Guguru, you should know that it is not eaten alone but with grandnut. I believe it is when you combine both you will get a little value for guguru. so get your facts right. Madam Iweala has been commited to helping our economy grow against the lies spread around against her by partisan politicians.

      • Guguru

        Oluwafunmilayo.

        LOL. Interesting response. I already have ekpa as a partner. Ekpa tastes great when we make love inside the mouth of our host. LOL.

        Nonetheless, Ngozi is the Chief Coordinating Criminal for the Jonathan administration. She lies and lies, and then creates more lies to soak the first lies she told.

  • Larry Basford

    Our government leaders both past and present are too difficult and dishonest to telling the nation the truth when it involves how they are managing the national treasury. The only military second in command that highlighted us was late Tunde Idangbon under the leadership of Buhari.

  • Most Honestly

    The woman is a monumental shame, Soludo has destroyed her by exposing her nuisance and incompetence. Now she has resorted to attacking the civil society, what a shame

    • Oluwafumilayou Ajani

      I think the one who should be referred to as a momumental shame should be Soludo who made rough estimate and corrupt SERAP who is playing partisan. Also you, talking without you brains. Madam Iweala is the best Nigeria have ever got in recent times when it come to handling the economy alongside financial matters. So think well, she has only favour Nigerians and not betray them. In 2012 1.6million jobs were created thanks to her. All you could do is insult her. You are an unprofitable servanet and I say to you that which you have, will be taken away and given to madam Ngozi.

  • Moe

    There is a reason it is said that if you are going to dine with the devil, you should bring a VERY LONG spoon!.
    Obviously, her spoon was not long enough!

  • Patriotique

    Madam Ngozi, provide the information. This is not a hide and seek game like you and the govt try to make it.

  • bib

    Nobody should be surprised. She is the minister of finance who paid over two trillion Naira to crooks on presentation of fake papers-2010 fuel subsidy.

  • Rommel

    The worst finance minister in the history of Nigeria, the fuel subsidy scam that brought Nigeria to its knees will forever haunt this woman who sees critics of her failings as mortal enemies.Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, failed Nigeria period!!!

  • bola

    Opinion is free as stipulated by
    promulgation of FOI bill. Where was SERAP before now? Today, anybody can out
    and name any organisation‎ to his taste as human right group. It is obvious
    that the shameless group is sponsored by their pay master.Dr Ngozi
    Okonjo-Iweala has continue to play a leadership role in the transparent and
    accountable management of the country’s resources and wealth

  • sasha

    We must inform groups like SERAP or
    whatever name they may be called must know that Nigeria is presently in the
    21st century and can not be taking back to the dark days of the past. Groups like
    these should also know that Nigerians need people like NOI to make the economy
    progress. We cannot be drawn back!

  • Damilare Useni

    Great leaders are leaders with vision and fight for the cause of the common man. Madam Iweala uncommon resilience for the transformation of this country will not be forgotten for generations. SERAP should SHOUT UP. SERAP is a corrupt civil society. If they know that the court is the right place for them to seek justice. Then they will stop making noise around. What I can get from their noise making is that they are sponsored.

  • Cyril

    Civil society my foot! Everybody knows that in Nigeria nothing goes for nothing; SERAP must be working for an incentive. Where are they getting the funds for instituting the action in court? From where are they getting funds to run their organisation if not from APC and other god-fathers that are anti-government.

  • Iluyomade

    SERAP
    should spend its energy and resources on things more productive. The court case
    is based on Soludo’s wild allegation that N30 trillion is missing in the
    country; a debatable figure; a fact not established; please spare us these
    stories.

  • sasha

    We must come to the conclusion that groups like SERAP is not different from ISIS and Boko Haram who are not only faceless but dangerous. My take is that no responsible person must take them seriously.

  • Kotonu Ashiri

    SERAP should bury their head in shame, they are not representing us as Nigerians. We know that they have collected some money to make noise. Why didn’t they use the FOI bill to ask for relevant infomation of how state government spend their resources? Now they just had of an information that has not been verified, they now feel they can talk. they are corrupt and we as Nigerians refuse to listen to their noise.

  • Idiaraba Mantu

    SERAP has been trying to give the public a negative impression about someone who has achieved much. It is for selfish reasons. But the good works of Madam Ngozi is visible that even the international community’s recognises that fact. Against the lies SERAP and Soludo wants Nigerians ti believe, all they have all said are lies that do not reflect the truth. Soludo lives in the centre of lies and should be imprisoned for spreading rumors and lies.

  • burning spear

    The issue about this APC sponsored rubbish is that——–u cannot ask the Minister to account for money that was not collected———by government—————–why has the same SERAP not gone to the Lagos state government to request it to account for the over 12 billion expected revenue which is being embezzled by tinubu—u want d creek dwellers to account for the theft of crude oil–and custom duties——————–madness of the highest order–its like requesting the spirit of gaddafi to tell us how much crude oil has been stolen by d tripod since–oil was discovered in 1957–in the creeks of Niger delta–freedom is our goal

  • Oluwadurotimi Oluwatunmise

    As civil and educated people, it behoves us to act maturely and responsibly rather than resorting to needless
    name-calling, dirty politics and self-aggrandizement. Let’s respond to issues objectively rather than whip up unnecessary sentiments. SERAP or whatever you’re called, if you have a personal grouse with the CME, its better you resolve it personally and not
    bring it to public glare

  • Lemmuel Odjay

    “… because the economy, despite their propaganda, was still standing and will continue to stand…” That was sister Okonjo Iweala. If within the past 3 months my bank money’s worth has been reduced by more than half its real value, so also some of my friends’, no thanks to the wobbly Naira, does that not suggest that our economy is “standing” on sinking sand? We have been through this before and I know what painful road we are being slowly conditioned to tread. And I know that not all Nigerians would walk that road. Some have stolen and have laundered such wealth away in foreign bank accounts and in foreign currencies. They are only waiting for the sign and they’d all disappear for a long holiday away from the famine they had created, leaving some of us such as Burning Spear to bear the brunt.