Cablegate: The Mpri Payment Saga
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS ABUJA 001040
AF/W FOR AMBASSADOR JETER
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MASS MARR PREL EFIN NI
SUBJECT: THE MPRI PAYMENT SAGA
REF: ABUJA 442
1. SUMMARY: After numerous low, medium and high-level
conversations with officials at the Ministry of Defense,
Ministry of Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria, and the
Presidency, Post believes payment of USD 3.2 million for the
MPRI reprofessionalization program may be received within one
week. (USD 300,000 is still pending foreign exchange approval
from the Ministry of Finance.) END SUMMARY.
2. On May 7, EconOff spoke with Mr. Stephen Oshungboye,
Director of Foreign Operations at the Central Bank of
Nigeria, who said he had no records regarding the MPRI
payment. EconOff faxed Oshungboye copies of the April 18
letter from the Minister of Defense to the CBN requesting
electronic transfer of USD 3.2 million. Post obtained a copy
of the letter from the Minister of State for Army's office
shortly after it was sent. (COMMENT: The letter from the
Minister of Defense was originally directed to Oshungboye.
END COMMENT.) According to materials supplied Post by the
Ministry of Defense, the remainder (approximately USD
300,000) of the USD 3.5 million is pending foreign exchange
approval from the Ministry of Finance.
3. On May 8, Oshungboye informed EconOff that the check,
which had accompanied the April 18 letter, had not been
endorsed properly by the Ministry of Defense and had been
returned to the Ministry for correction. When asked how
quickly the payment could be transferred once the corrected
check is received, Oshungboye said that could take 24 to 48
hours. Subsequently, EconOff called Lawal Balarabe, Special
Assistant to the Minister of State for the Army, who promised
to expedite correction of the check that same day (May 8).
4. Post will inform Department once the GON advises that the
transfer has been effected.