Okonjo-Iweala Denies Accusing Lawmakers of Asking for N17bn Bribe


The former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, yesterday denied accusing the lawmakers of the seventh National Assembly of asking for a bribe of N17 billion to approve the budget under the immediate past administration.

She blamed mischief makers for distorting contents of her recent book, ‘Fighting Corruption is Dangerous: the Story Behind the Headlines,’ for their own political purposes, saying no where in the book did she allude to bribe taking by the lawmakers.

In a Facebook post, she said: “It has come to my attention that mischief makers are again trying to distort what is written in my book, ‘Fighting Corruption is Dangerous: the Story Behind the Headlines,’ for their own political purposes.

“One more time, it is important that people read the book for themselves. In the case of the N17 billion, the book does not talk of bribe. It indicates that lawmakers increased the budget by N17 billion and we had to accept that to move on; hence, the term ‘price to pay’.

“The reason for discussing what happened is that this approach needs to change. The country must clear up and clarify its budget process for the future to improve. Those like Gbajabiamiala trying to introduce lies that myself and my aides put in our own projects and lawmakers were fighting with me on that basis are playing their usual cynical games and Nigerians are tired of that!

“Lies obscure the country’s problems and do not allow us to improve. There were and there are still politicians in the National Assembly trying to do the right thing. The book also points that out. Such well-meaning legislators should not allow their strident colleagues to twist matters and divert attention from the need to improve the country’s budget process so our young people can see a better side of their country.”