NGOZI Okonjo-Iweala, former minister of finance, on Monday, May 23, said she had directed her lawyers to take legal steps against the court judgement asking her to account for the alleged missing N30 trillion.
The court while delivering judgement in a suit filed by the Socio-Economic Rights Agenda in pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, had ordered the federal government and Okonjo-Iweala to provide information relating to the N30 trillion allegedly unaccounted for.
But reacting to the development, the former finance minister claimed in a statement issued by Paul Nwabuikwu, her media adviser, that she was never served with any court processes relating to the matter.
“Our attention has been drawn to media reports regarding a court judgment alleged to have been entered against the Federal Government of Nigeria and Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in respect of an action by the Socio-Economic Rights Agenda pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act.
“It is curious that the first time Okonjo-Iweala is being made aware of a matter filed against her in court is in the news reporting the delivery of judgment. She has instructed her lawyers to take steps to set aside the judgment as it affects her. Okonjo-Iweala hastens to state that she 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 in the statement explained that while the case was instituted in February 2015, she was not served until July 2015 after she had ceased to be the minister of finance. “By the date the said papers were purportedly served Dr Okonjo-Iweala 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.
“The Court processes must have been served on others because the attention of Dr Okonjo-Iweala 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.”
While stating that the law suit was politically motivated, Okonjo-Iweala said, “The decision of SERAP to anchor its case on a “baseless and unsubstantiated allegation by former CBN governor Professor Charles Soludo that N30trn – 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.” – Punch
— May 23, 2016 @ 17:10 GMT