Friday, 19 September 2014

South African Government Faults Federal Government's Explanation On Seized $9.3m


PRNigeria, an agency that releases statements for the military police and other security agencies said "No launderer will be audacious to fly into a country in a chartered jet with such huge cash.”, but...

According to an online news medium, Premium Times, South Africa described as “flawed and riddled with discrepancies,” explanations by the Nigerian government that the money was meant to procure arms.

This is just as the All Progressives Congress, APC raised 15 posers asking President Goodluck Jonathan to avail Nigerians full disclosure on the alleged scandal.

The private jet used to convey the cash was owned by the National President of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, who has since denied any involvement in the arms deal, saying the aircraft has since August 2, been leased to another company, Green Coast Produce Limited.

The Federal Government, in a statement by PRNigeria, an agency that releases statements for the military, police and other security agencies said “The Federal Government has submitted relevant data and documents on the transaction to South Africa and insisted that the transaction was legitimate. It also clarified that the funds were neither laundered nor smuggled for any covert manoeuvres. No launderer will be audacious to fly into a country in a chartered jet with such huge cash.”

The South African prosecution agency, in a statement sent to Premium Times, however said “Although various explanations about the money were given to the investigating officer, these explanations were flawed and riddled with discrepancies.”

S’Africa moves to seize money

Already, the Asset Forfeiture Unit, AFU, of the National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa, NPA, has obtained a court order to freeze the money.

The NPA, in a statement said that the manner in which the money was brought into the country breached the country’s laws that deal with the transfer of foreign exchange of such proportion.

“The money was initially detained by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) as it was neither disclosed nor declared at Customs, and was above the prescribed legal limit for the amount of cash that may be brought into the country,” it said in a statement.

Investigators also cast serious doubt on the Nigerian government’s explanation that the money was meant for the procurement of arms and that it has provided documents and receipts to back its legitimacy, raising serious concern that suspects might have been in the process of laundering the money before it was intercepted.

The NPA said its investigation shows that Tier One Services Group, the firm Nigerian government claimed it wanted to procure the arms from, is not authorised to sell or rent military hardware.

“In the court papers, the NPA submitted evidence that Tier One is not registered with the National Conventional Arms Control Committee and is thus not authorised to enter into any agreements regarding the sale and/or rental of military equipment,” the statement read.

Tier One has apparently issued an invoice to a Cyprus-based company, ESD International Group Ltd, ESD, in respect of the procurement of armaments and helicopters to be delivered to Nigeria.

However, South African investigators said the time the invoice was prepared and the time the money was brought in threw up some serious issues of its true intent.

The money was ferried to South Africa less than a week from the date the invoice was prepared (September 8, 2014).

The involvement of a Cyprus-based company also heightens the suspicion that this may be a case of classical money laundering.

The NPA added that the transaction did not follow normal procedure in the procurement of the kind of equipment it was alleged to have been meant for.

Imagine PRNigeria a government agency defending money launderers...What kind of country do we live in? 

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