Saturday, June 25

Judgement Scam: Why Okonjo-Iweala Should Not Be Blamed

Judgement Scam: Why Okonjo-Iweala Should Not Be Blamed

Recently, a coalition of anti-corruption civil society bodies petitioned the EFCC that the erstwhile Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Muhaamed Bello Adoke to account for the sum of $3.2 billion allegedly belonging to the 774 local governments on whose behalf one Mr. Joe Agi SAN obtained the judgment.


According to media report, “…none of the local governments benefited from the $1.6 billion said to have been paid to the plaintiffs.”


The question on the minds of many Nigerians is: Who really authorized the disbursement of the funds?

I am not so good at mathematics, but I know for sure that a trillion is made up of several billions; and several millions makes a billion. If my knowledge of math is still with me, it is either this judgement is a sham or there is a deliberate distortion somewhere!

In a country with a reputation of corrupt judiciary doing the biddings of their pay master, one do not need to wait too long to buy “gbanjo” judgement using the Yoruba parlance language. We live in a country where the Judiciary that is supposed to be the last hope of the common man is providing no hope, but hardship.

 We all are witnesses to the fact that people like Justice Salami sold their conscience for their paymasters and were all ignominiously shown the way out of the famous institution.

At this point let us bring in former Minister of Finance, Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. She has to be brought in because, going by conventional wisdom, she served as the custodian of the nation’s treasury at the time so she cannot be “insulated” from the news.

More curiously we ask: would Dr. Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala not have made the part payment of $1.6 billion? In her own case, did she collude with the Adoke because she too ignored the advice of the Debt Management Office? As the Coordinating Minister of the Economy at the time, did she not ought to have protected Nigeria by defending the position of the DMO instead of following Adoke's dubious directive to pay the sum of a judgment debt of $3.6 billion?

While I do not envy the former finance minister at all for having to serve in the same administration with people like Adoke, we must resist the temptations to assume that everyone that served under Hitler was evil. After all, President Buhari served under one of the worst administrations in Nigeria’s history- General Sanni Abacha.

So why should Okonjo-Iweala be guilty by association if Buhari is not guilty of the Abacha’s crimes?

The role of Okonjo-Iweala as finance minister is not to question expenditures or vouchers. Those are roles purely of the Offices of the Accountant-General and the Auditor-General of the Federation.

For God’s sake, why should I, for instance perform the duties of a nurse just because I am the physician?

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