I was never served with court papers relating to ‘missing N30 trillion’ – Okonjo-Iweala

FILE PHOTO: Former Finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala laying the budget before National Assembly Lawmakers

The former Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has denied being served with papers on a Freedom of Information Act case supposedly brought against her by the Socio-Economic Rights Agenda on a missing N30 trillion.

In a statement Monday, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala denied ever receiving any court papers regarding the SERAP case.

She also said she had not read the judgment and would therefore defer any comments on the matter.

“I was never served with any court processes in relation to the said matter. She has not read the judgment and would therefore defer any comments on the matter,” the former minister said.

Mrs Okonjo-Iweala was responding to a judgment by the Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos, which ordered her to account for the said amount.

Justice Ibrahim Buba had asked her and the Federal Government to provide information on the spending of the alleged missing N30 trillion representing some income to the Federal Government during the last four years of the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

She said, “By the date the said papers were purportedly served, I was no longer a public officer and could therefore not be the subject of a request for production of any documents or information under the Freedom of information Act.

“From the media reports, the case was instituted in February 2015 but was not served until July 2015 after I had already ceased to be the Minister of Finance,” she said.

“The Court processes must have been served on others because my attention was never drawn to the matter in which she appears to have been sued personally. She therefore did not engage any lawyer to act for her in the matter.

“It is curious that the first time I was made aware of a matter filed against me in court is in news reports reporting the delivery of judgment. I have instructed my lawyers to take steps to set aside the judgment as it affects me,” she said.

“The decision of SERAP to anchor its case on a baseless and unsubstantiated allegation by former CBN governor Professor Charles Soludo that N30 trillion – about seven times the total annual budget during the Jonathan administration – is missing confirms SERAP’s dubious motives and its role as a tool for politically motivated actors.”

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