Group wants Finance Minister, Okonjo-Iweala, to account for alleged missing N30trillion

Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

A civil society group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has sent a Freedom of Information request to Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Finance, urging her to “urgently provide information about spending of the alleged missing N30 trillion, which represents some accruable income to the Federal Government in the past four years.”

SERAP’s request followed a disclosure by Charles Soludo, a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, that over N30 trillion had been either been missing, stolen, unaccounted for, or simply mismanaged under the minister’s watch.

In the letter of request dated February 2, 2015, and signed by Adetokunbo Mumuni SERAP executive director, the organization threatened legal actions under the FOI Act to compel Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala to comply with the request if the information was not provided within 14 days.

“As a trustee of public funds, SERAP contends that your Ministry has a legal duty to render account on the missing N30tn to the beneficiaries (Nigerians) of the trust, if and when called upon to do so,” the letter read.

“As a key agency of government, the Ministry of Finance has a sacred duty to ensure that the country’s resources and wealth is used solely to fulfil the basic economic and social rights of all Nigerians and achieve the country’s overall socio-economic development. This implies providing strong leadership in the efforts to curb public sector corruption, and to refer to appropriate anticorruption agencies any allegations of corruption in which any agencies of government may be involved or officials of your Ministry may be complicit.”

The organization also expressed concern that the stealing or mismanagement of such a large sum of public funds may be responsible for the economic crisis and attendant hardships being faced by millions of Nigerians.

“SERAP considers this a serious allegation that requires your immediate and urgent clarifications,” the letter continued.

“If true, such allegation will clearly amount to a fundamental breach of national anti corruption laws and the country’s international anti corruption obligations and commitments including under the UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party. Any failure or refusal to render account on the missing N30tn will also be clearly inconsistent with the attitude of a government that has repeatedly expressed commitment to the fight against corruption, and in fact signed the Freedom of Information Act.

“Therefore, it is necessary to provide clarity as to what exactly happened to the missing N30tn if the Ministry of Finance is to continue to play a leadership role in the transparent and accountable management of the country’s resources and wealth, and to enjoy the public trust and confidence essential for the Ministry’s effectiveness and impact.”

SERAP further requested the minister to provide detailed information on the spending of the alleged missing N30 trillion, that presumably represented income or return accruing to or derived by the federal government “from any source, including: a) any receipt, however described, arising from the operation of any law; b) any return, however described, arising from or in respect of any property held by the Government of the Federation; c) any return by way of interest on loans and dividends in respect of shares or interest held by the Government of the Federation in any company or statutory body.”

“This information should cover the past four years of your role as Ministry of Finance and Coordinating Minister under the President Goodluck Jonathan government. By virtue of Section 1 (1) of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2011, SERAP is entitled as of right to request for or gain access to information, including information on the alleged missing N30tn under your watch, and the said information is in the custody or possession of any public official, agency or institution,” the organization also said.

“By virtue of Section 4 (a) of the FOI Act when a person makes a request for information from a public official, institution or agency, the public official, institution or urgency to whom the application is directed is under a binding legal obligation to provide the applicant with the information requested for, except as otherwise provided by the Act, within 7 days after the application is received.By Sections 2(3)(d)(V) & (4) of the FOI Act, there is a binding legal duty to ensure that documents containing information relating to spending of the alleged missing N30tn is widely disseminated and made readily available to members of the public through various means,” the organization also said.

According to SERAP, the information being requested did not come within the purview of the types of information exempted from disclosure by the provisions of the FOI Act.

“The information requested for, apart from not being exempted from disclosure under the FOI Act, bothers on an issue of national interest, public peace and concern, interest of human rights, social justice, good governance, transparency and accountability.”


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  • Wetin Naija

    Okonjo is madam senior thief

    • emmanuel

      your stupidity is crass!

      N4.5 trillion yearly annual budget in four years is N18 trillion. Now discount allocated and spent and you would discover absolute lies from a thief Soludo

      Mumuni has been a mercenary who work for the highest bidder. He makes threats od strikes, demonstartions, Nigerian spring or Harmattan and disappears from the scene shortly after without follow up actions.

      Ore Dino Melaye

  • endingNaija

    Look at her PDP IMPORT WAIVER cheeks.

  • emmanuel

    Mumuni was supposed to be a lecturer.

    Our average budget in four years is less than twenty trillion.

    Did we have Federal allocations, where monies spent?

    So where did thirty trillion come from?

    Mumus led by a failed CBN Governor!

    • bib

      African Union has just confirmed that colossal amount of money has illegally find its way out out of our boundaries. Pls take note that most money being talked about did not reach our budgets b4 they flew out.

    • Maitama Tambari

      Emmanuel where were you when T. Mbaki just released African Union Report on missing funds in Africa where Nigeria came out with flying color with the same or close to N30trillion? Get hold of the report or ask CBN to help you if do not want to hear Soludo or Sanusi.

      • emmanuel

        The figures sound alike but they are bandied.

        Be civilised, add up figures, do average and you would see under hand guiding these reports.

        Please address the issues i raised.

        We are fooling ourselves before the World. You think they do not know the figures, including Sanusis own?

        • True Nigerian

          If they were part of the budget, then we would have known who stole them and where they were stolen from. Isn’t that basic common sense?
          I’ll give you an example. The 400,000 barrels that are being stolen per day are not even seen by government, let alone getting into the budget. So how can we use the budgetary amount as a yardstick to determine that the huge amounts being mentioned are not being stolen? The evidence is before us if we are honest people. Nigeria has earned hundreds of billions of dollars in the last few years of high oil price. Strangely, the same country now borrows $1b in order to fight a war against boko haram. It doesn’t make sense. And talking about your budgetary analogy, I still have more examples for you. You say Nigeria cannot be losing this amount to stealing, and you say so based on the fact that our budget is not even so big enough to accommodate that. You obviously didn’t give the issue a thought before dismissing the conclusion. Here is something you didn’t think about: Nigeria’s budgetary approval for fuel subsidy was less than $250b. Yet, this government was paying out an incredible N2trillion for the subsidy, mostly on the basis of fraudulent invoices and claims. How on earth does a government pay out N2t as against N250b. Did Nigeria need any other budget for the additional 700% that was added to the budget benchmark on subsidy?

          Probably, you genuinely do not know how rotten this country has become. Maybe that’s the reason you see things the way you see things. Or maybe it’s the usual ethno-religious sentiments about where the President comes from.

          Whatever your persuasion is, the truth is, Nigeria is a rotten country and it is now on a skeletal existence right now. Corruption has eaten the country to the bones. We cannot continue like this. There has to be a change.

          • emmanuel

            Are you saying that you never knew the subsidy thing almost crippled the government before Jonathan raised alarm and the governors blackmailed him? Amaechi was the gang leader then.

            So you know so much is earned above the budget?

            I operate in the Finance, Maritime and oil industries and i know have a better picture of Nigeria than most noise makers.

            There are too many lies and propaganda in this nation.

            What is spent in defending tha Naira in the last eight years is ming bugging, because of our unbriddled taste for import and producing nothing.

            A lot of those calling for change have lost out in importation of Rice, Tokunbo Cars, clearing, vessel handling, Dollar Pounds business (Infact the mallams are choking) and Fish importation, so they want the government kicked out so they can return to the lazy mallam lifestyle

            Imagine a Fulani Senator arguing that the dying Foreign exchange black market will send so many people out of job (Hausa/Fulanis of course) and the CBN should revert to free flow in the underground market – wonders

    • Uzoma John

      You see how daft you are. If over 400,000 barrels of oil per day,alone is stolen by GEJ and his PDP cronies with an average price of $100 per barrel before the recent price fall. Five years out of GEJ’s six in government, oil sold at over $100 per barrel. So, do the maths. If we should consider the oil theft alone, in a given year, Nigeria is losing $14.6billion (x5) to GEJ and company. What about the import waiver scam? What about the oil subsidy scam that runs into trillions? What about the year in year out poor performance of the national budget (where less than 45% of the capital budget is executed and the rest disappears)? What about the unaccounted NNPC funds? What about the Pension fund? Emmanuel, you are erroneously basing your argument on a budget which does not indicate the real size and wealth of Nigeria’s economy. That makes you the mumu you have accused others of. Prof Soludo was actually very conservative with the figures he gave, and you are here insulting him. Corrupt and evil generation.

      • emmanuel

        I daft agreed, but you know next to nothing, because the Generals who want power back are the Oil thieves who started it over two decades ago.

        Wonder why Abdulsalami’s son (an officer) was killed with a General in a vessel at Okerenkoko in the dying days of ND militancy, if not that they were cordinating Oil theft into the Nearby vessel?

        Import waiver? Dangote and Stallion for over twenty five years now na Jonathan?

        Tell me how Rilwanu Lukman became the richest man in Austria, did he work for Jonathan? Rahamaniya bought a whole street in the Palm city in Dubai and private jet from him operating at a modest level in the days of Ya Adua when Jonathan was not allowed to enter the presidents office as VP?

        Femi Otedola became so rich, Tinubu bought Oando with Ibori, Bought Mobil PLC majority holding, na Jonathan?

        Fashola has now joined the league of the richest Nigerian na Jonathan?

        I bag make we hear story!

        • Dr. Peter Ejirika,CPA

          He is not uzoma by name or conduct.

  • Omooba Adekunle Orafidiya

    I really don’t care what either party has to say. But, Ngozi Iweala-Okonjo (or whatever double-barreled name she calls herself) should look for work elsewhere; even if she’s the most brilliant economist in the whole world. She has set a record of being the longest serving Minister ever.

    • Dr. Peter Ejirika,CPA

      Agreed., rightly said but she is not going to debate anyone because she is only answerable to her boss Jonathan and not to the people. Whoever wants a debate should get ready to debate Jonathan and not Dr. Iweala.

    • Bio

      Why all this jealousy?. Years ago, Prof.Chukwuma Soludo was tag among the worst ever Gov.of CBN Nigeria ever had,when Yaradua didn’t renew his appointment,and Sanusi came and discovered many anomalies in the Banking sectort z. Many banks were found Liquidated , The whole country went wild in condemnation,calling for the Head of Soludo. Now,an allegation from the same man condemned by most Nigerians is now the Saint,Guru and Liberator. Of Nigeria Economy, Thank God. His allegations have now been seen as the saviour of the Nation Economic survival, Saint hood of Soludo has begun, beware of the spliters of Good deeds. Now high praised Dr Okonjo Iweala is now the hunted. Civil society Group has woken from nowhere to condemn without substantiated. Please,go and verify the rift between the two, Okonjo Iweala and Soludo way back during the Regime of Obasanjo.

      • Omooba Adekunle Orafidiya

        If you read my post at all, it means you have reading and comprehension issues.

        • Bio

          On looking at your names before seeing your comments,the analytic comprehensive summary of your comments and your inner mind unknown to human have been gotten and tabled on the Alter of the Wise. What else to comprehend?. Speak up! You the apprehend.

  • Dr. Peter Ejirika,CPA

    I am willing to debate any Nigerian any where in the World on the behalf of Dr. Iweala on Public Finance or Micro or Macroeconomics Theories. And as a warm up for the debate I will like to debate Boolean Mathematics and Keynesian Economics. All that I need is two weeks advance notice I will be prepared to meet the party or parties in any part of the globe. I understand Nigeria is a male dominated society otherwise these issues are derivatives of Jonathan’s Economics’ Policies and any concerns about them need to be taken up with him not with the Administrative Assistant. However, Dr. Iweala is a product of the best of American Higher Education and I am a product of American Higher Education State University Model so I am willing to debate any Nigerian any where on any economics or public finance topic. My contact information is as follows:
    Dr. Peter Ejirika, CPA
    Higher Education Econometrician
    University of Mary Hardin Baylor
    Email: PCEJIRIKA@MAIL.UMHB.EDU
    Phone: (512) 368-0262

    • Bio

      Ride on Doc.

  • sasha

    We had peace when he left. Maybe things would have turned out differently if he hadn’t been made CBN Governor, thankfully he didn’t make it as Anambra state governor, he was never meant to be a governor ,I have never seen any ex-governor act In such an unprofessional manner, heating up the politics, I hope he know Nigerians detest him.

  • sarahcole

    Only people with PVC should talk about the economy.soludo is
    talking nonsense,soludo are u sure u have pvc?

    • babadee

      He is still flying on the air

  • babadee

    I was surprised, when he (Soludo) wrote, “the naira exchange rate to the dollar is at N215 (from 158 a few
    months ago) and unless oil price recovers, this just the beginning. For the
    sake of Nigeria, I won’t keep quiet anymore!” admiring Prof. Chukwuma, it is
    painful he is happy and celebratingself-righteousness in the time of
    national distress. I thought he should know better as a man who has benefitted
    greatly from the national cake. Now, he turns his back on Nigeria in the days of deficits: going all out attacking the
    institution that brought him this far.i wonder, If to debate is the answer in this time of economic down cast in order to denigrate the
    office of the Coordinating Minister of the Economy-CME; then he has got it wrong. I will advise him (as ribadu
    has done and is doing} to work together on how to provide realistic
    solutions should be paramount and would be best appreciated rather than
    self-glorification and vainglory-for the bible says, before a downfall comes pride.

  • Ayo

    Oga Charles, he claimed, Obama, Lincoln and the rest of the great leaders he mentioned contested electoral position and lost on several occasions before attaining their goals; but he forgot, their means was through the ballot not the
    bring-them-down syndrome of him and his co-travellers. In the advanced world, politics is a means to provide the
    greatest good for the greatest number. Given your achievements as self-popularised and propagated by the ‘Aba” made Prof., The Otta political father gave him “100% percent support actually delivered 1000%”- I would want to ask: what is the significant change in
    the lives of the common man? The outcrop was swamping of financial bad debt on the commoners at their own peril to favour the already rich. I doubt Madam not, when she said: “there was very little separation between the regulators and the
    regulated.”

    o