Alleged diversion of $1.5bn Chinese rail project fund untrue – Okonjo-Iweala

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The immediate past Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has dismissed report of diversion of $1.5 billion China EximBank loan meant for the construction of standard gauge line linking Lagos and Kano.
Okonjo-Iweala in a statement by her media adviser, Paul Nwabiuku, said 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 Exim Bank for several strategic infrastructural projects across the country.”
Nwabiuku stated that the China EximBank keeps and disburses funds for approved projects to contractors based on milestones, adding that the funds are not domiciled with Finance Ministry.
The former minister directed anyone interested in establishing the truth on the loan to cross-check with the China EximBank or the Chinese Embassy.
“It is noteworthy that even though President Muhammadu Buhari, in his reported comments on the allegation, made no reference to Dr. Okonjo- Iweala but rightly stressed the need for due process and transparency in the execution of public projects, a sponsored media campaign has once again been launched by political elements to make the former minister the culprit in a non-existent scandal.
“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.
“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.”
Providing further insight on the loan, the statement said that $500 million was for the expansion of four international airport terminals in Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt; $500m for …Read More

Source:: New Mail