Diezani Alison-Madueke, immediate past minister of petroleum resources, has revealed that her “good friend”, Muhammad Sanusi II, the Emir of Kano, wanted to be president of African Development Bank (AfDB).
She suggested that the former CBN governor could have been angry with her, based on how some people close to Goodluck Jonathan, the former president, frustrated his AfDB ambition.
Akinwunmi Adesina, former minister for agriculture and rural development, was eventually elected the eight president of the bank in May.
Alison-Madueke, who is currently battling with cancer, also maintained that Sanusi’s allegations about missing $20bn were false.
In an interview with Dele Momodu, publisher of Ovation Magazine and TheBoss newspaper, Diezani said she never stole any money, challenging her accusers to publish facts.
“If there is one issue I must pursue in this world, it is the biggest lie of this money. How can $20billion disappear just like that? Where did it disappear to? Is it possible that such an amount would not be traceable?” she queried.
“This is more painful coming from someone I considered a good friend who should appreciate the gravity of such allegation. I challenge anyone to come forward with facts showing that I stole government or public money. I’ve never stolen Nigeria’s money.
“Rather, I worked hard to halt the rampant business of round-tripping. When I brought in Reginald Stanley to clean up the place, I requested for a list of the defaulters.
“There were about 92 of them and I made sure we sanctioned them. You can imagine the threat to my life but I was ready to defend the economic interests of my country. In fact, we were able to reduce the oil subsidy by about half. No one has applauded our effort.”
She went on to speak about the former CBN governor’s relationship with the president at about the time of his termination.
“There were those who said the then Governor of Central Bank must have been angry at me because of the way the Presidency treated him. In all honesty, he was being blocked from seeing the President by some of Oga’s people (presidential aides) but it had nothing to do with me.
“I was the one who even told Oga about the development and Oga said he would meet him in London on one of his trips. Unfortunately, my boss fell ill and was rushed to King Edward Hospital and the meeting was aborted.”
“Sanusi and I had been friends. There was no way I would have done anything bad to him. He even came to my house to inform me about his interest in heading the African Development Bank and we discussed for about two hours.
“I promised to support him and I spoke to Oga about it. We were together on the Reconciliation Committee that looked into the accounts of NNPC. Yes there were gaps but not on the alarming scale being circulated. Markafi [former Governor of Kaduna State] did a thorough job. You know he is a very sound accountant.”