Okonjo-Iweala Denies Alleged Diversion Of $1bn Rail Loan

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okonjo-iweala-400x300Former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has denied the allegation that a substantial part of $1.005billion loan obtained from the China-EXIM (Export-Import) bank for the construction of a standard gauge rail line linking Lagos to Kano rail project was diverted under her watch.
Following a briefing last week by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Alhaji Mohammed Bashar that only $400m of the said loan remained with the Finance Ministry, President Muhammadu Buhari had questioned the alleged diversion of the funds.
But in a statement made available to the media on Sunday, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala noted that there was no truth in the allegation, challenging those interested in cross-checking the facts to get in touch with the China-EXIMBank, or the Chinese Embassy.
“The alleged diversion has no substance, for the simple reason that the Kano-Lagos project was not even among the projects presented for funding by the China EXIMBank for several strategic infrastructural projects across the country”, the ex-minister said in a statement signed by her spokesperson, Paul Nwabuikwu.
“In fact, it was the Lagos–Ibadan rail project, not Lagos-Kano rail project that was proposed in the original application to the China-EXIMBank. But in the end, no funds were assigned for the Lagos-Ibadan rail project by the China-EXIMBank”, the statement said.
The projects listed for funding with the China-EXIMBank loan, she explained, were at various stages of progress and can be confirmed are the expansion of four International Airport Terminals in Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt ($500million); Abuja Light Rail ($500million); Zungeru Hydro-electric power project ($984million) and Galaxy Backbone project ($100million).
Even if the alleged project was listed among China-EXIMBank funded projects, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said diversion of any Chinese funds would have been extremely difficult, since the contract terms and the processes would not have permitted any such action.
“The procedure is that funds for approved loans remain in the China-EXIMBank and are released directly to the Chinese firm executing the contract only after the presentation of duly certified proof of work by the responsible Ministry, in this case it would have been the Federal Ministry of Transport, based on the agreed milestones”, the statement said.
“For the sake of emphasis, the China-EXIMBank does not disburse money directly to government and therefore the issue of diversion does not arise”.
The statement, however, said the attempt to link the former minister to the allegation was “another example of the kind of whispering campaign of calumny, innuendo, misinformation, and outright distortions being perpetrated by certain political elements against Dr. Okonjo-Iweala in a bid to try to damage her reputation”.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala remains the first and best globally tested and certified African and Nigerian manager to date. The integrity and ideals she brought to bear in the management of the Nigerian economy in the recent past cannot be wished away by crude propaganda and mindless idiocy of Liliputian proportions. What we have at hand is a combination ignorance and incompetence being masked as anti-corruption and change. What will it benefit anybody even the animals in the grazing forests that a government that won an election has abandoned governance to concentrate on demolishing its predecessors that left indelible imprints in the governance history of Nigeria. Let the APC end the continuous killing of the people who voted for it in the North East. Let the government bring out a policy on Almajiri education, Let Buhari publish the list of those who stole government funds as furnished him by the U.S. Government. As they persuade the whole universe that the government they inherited is a total mess, everywhere I look around my environment , in the markets and on the streets Whitemen and fair skinned people are taking over Nigeria not just as mere denizens but acute searchers for opportunity. So not even Obasanjo and Oshi the Omo Ole can change the reality that though President Jonathan assisted by Dr. Ngoni Okonjo Iweala may not have been perfect , they left a heritage better than all governments before them -the largest economy in Africa, free and creditable electoral system, high minimum wage, more high quality motor able roads, revitalized railways, new agricultural accomplishments a modern and better run public service payroll, a manageable public debt stock, etc. If I should advise the APC and its idlers and loud mouths, they should bend down to work because there is really no time for frivolities. They should not think it is impossible to serve them quit notice.

  2. nigerian know how to destroy their ,they never celebrate their best best instead they will drag their name murky water just to discourage whoever again.Atleast china embasy can solve this problem before rushing to the press for name calling.More grease to your great woman of all time

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