In response, Okonjo-Iweala has been heavily criticized by civil society groups who suggest that regardless of the conditions under which the money was transferred there was little or no accountability.

As minister of finance, Okonjo-Iweala was not a member of the security council and so could not have been involved in decisions made on procurement of arms and spending of security funds.  There is no evidence to suggest Okonjo-Iweala herself was responsible for misappropriation of funds but most of the criticism raises questions on whether she could have done more to prevent others doing so.

President Buhari, who hinged his campaign on a strong anti-corruption stance, has already directed that those involved in the scandal be prosecuted and the allegations around the spending of the repatriated funds could damage Okonjo-Iweala’s reputation.

The arms fraud scandal is particularly sensitive for most Nigerians who have been affected by the Boko Haram insurgency. In the last few years, the terror inflicted by the militant sect has led to the death of thousands with millions more displaced and forced to leave under dire conditions in refugee camps. The lack of arms sabotaged the fight for most of the last few years as several reports suggested that troops could not match the firepower of Boko Haram. Despite Nigeria’s long and sad history with high level corruption, the arms fraud scandal is one that is most directly linked to significant and obvious human casualties.

Okonjo-Iweala’s stint with Jonathan’s administration was her second time round serving in government. Former president Obasanjo convinced her to leave the World Bank in 2003 to become minister of finance. When Jonathan asked her to join his cabinet she agreed to do so only on the condition she was given more control of the economy than under Obasanjo.


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