Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Fresh Arms Deal: S-Africa Seizes Another $5.7m

Jonathan and Zuma

ABUJA—Three weeks after South Africa confiscated $9.3m belonging to the Federal Government over an alleged illegal arms deal, the South African authorities have seized another $5.7m arms money from Nigeria.

Last month, two Nigerians and an Israeli were arrested at Lanseria International Airport, Johannesburg, after they attempted to smuggle $9.3m to South Africa which the Federal Government described as a legitimate business deal to purchase arms for the Nigerian intelligence services.

This is just as a statement by PR Nigeria on behalf of the Nigerian government said the report by the South African newspaper, City Press on the latest transaction has vindicated the Federal Government’s official position that the deal was legitimate.

Despite explanations by Nigeria, the Asset Forfeiture Unit of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) of South Africa obtained a court order to freeze the money for allegedly being the proceeds of illegal transactions.

The latest transaction, according to a South African newspaper, City Press was between Cerberus Risk Solutions, an arms broker in Cape Town, and Societe D’Equipments Internationaux, a Nigerian company in Abuja.

The paper reported that the deal fell apart after Cerberus which had earlier received R60 million (N1.02 billion) from Nigeria in its account at Standard Bank, attempted to pay back the money because it could not resolve its registration formalities with the South African authorities.

According to the paper, 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 was said to have since applied for re-registration, but the application was yet to be granted and had been in the NCACC’s mailbox for more than two months.

Following attempts by Cerberus to pay the money back to the Nigerian company, 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. Cerberus’ attorney, Martin Hood, was said to have declined to comment on the matter.

In the first arms deal, the two Nigerians and the Israeli national, Eyal Mesika were arrested after they failed to declare two black plastic suitcases, filled with 90 blocks each containing US$100,000 in notes, with combination locks, as well as two pieces of hand luggage also containing US currency, according to City Press. The Israeli, Eyal Mesika, had the combination to open the locks. The men landed at Lanseria International Airport, Johannesburg, on September 5 in a private jet from Abuja.

At the time, the South Africa Revenue Service, SARS, said Customs officers became suspicious when the passengers’ luggage were unloaded and put through the scanners.


The National Prosecuting Authority, NPA, in South Africa said there was an invoice for helicopters and armaments intended to be used in Nigeria.

Under South African laws, a person entering or leaving the country is expected to carry cash not exceeding US$2,300, or the equivalent in foreign currency notes. The Nigerian government later admitted it was behind the deal meant to purchase arms with which to fight Boko Haram.

The South African paper said documents in its possession show that the first consignment was personally signed off by the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, who issued the end-user certificate for the transaction.

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

NPA spokesperson Nathi Ncube said there were no indications that the two transactions were related, adding that, “both are now the subject of a criminal investigation and all possible information and connections are being investigated”.

Government of one week one trouble, so our new secret government policy is to enrich South Africa?
Na wa o!!

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