South Africa processing return of Nigeria's seized $15mn

South Africa processing return of Nigeria's seized $15mn

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 7:36 am

The South African diplomatic sources have hinted that his country would soon return to Nigeria the seized $15million.

The sources said the process of refunding the money is already on.

Jonathan and Zuma: South Africa processing return of  seized money

Jonathan and Zuma: South Africa processing return of seized money

“Both countries have decided on a political solution to the issue. Nigeria is a big ally and a brother,” said the source, who also added that South Africa will do everything to maintain cordial relations with Nigeria and would not do anything to hurt her national interests.

South African authorities had first frozen US$5.7 million belonging to Nigeria, in what was believed to be a suspicious banking transaction for arms purchase.

The seizure came out weeks after another $9.3 million cash reportedly smuggled by two Nigerians and an Israeli for arms purchase from the country was confiscated at the Lanseria Airport in Johannesburg.

The latter was brought in a private jet belonging to Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, the President of the Christians Association of Nigeria.

The money in suit cases was seized 5 September because it was not declared.

Three days later, invoice for the procurement for helicopters and armaments intended to be used in Nigeria was supplied by the couriers of the money, but the country’s authorities held on to the money.

The $5.7million was seized by The Asset Forfeiture Unit of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) though it bore the imprimatur of senior security officials from Nigeria.

According to the report from South Africa, Nigeria’s National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, a colonel, personally issued the end-user certificate for the arms the money was meant to buy.

An entire “shopping list” was supplied with the certificate, which included everything from helicopters to unmanned aircraft, rockets and ammunition.

Sources close to the investigation said the transaction was between Cerberus Risk Solutions, an arms broker in Cape Town, and Societe D’Equipments Internationaux, a Nigerian company in Abuja.

An impeccable source said this company paid the R60 million into Cerberus’ account at Standard Bank.

Cerberus was previously registered as a broker with the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC), but the registration expired in May this year.

The marketing and contracting permits also expired at the same time.

The company has since applied for re-registration, but the application lay in the NCACC’s mailbox for more than two months.

Sources told Rapport that Cerberus apparently tried to pay the money back to the Nigerian company, after which the bank became suspicious.

The NPA’s Asset Forfeiture Unit subsequently obtained a court order in the South Gauteng High Court to seize the money.

NPA spokesperson Nathi Mncube said there were no indications that the two transactions were related.

South Africa has insisted that the money was the proceed of illegal transactions and is now being investigated by the Special Investigating Unit of the department probing offences against the state.

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