Buhari suspends senior officials over aid corruption allegations

20 Apr 17

Nigerian president Mohammadu Buhari has suspended two top officials implicated in a scandal over $43m in allegedly misdirected aid funds.

 

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Corruption find. Credit: Nigeria's EFCC

An investigator counts a hoard of cash found hidden in an empty Lagos flat. Credit: Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

 

Buhari announced yesterday that he has ordered an investigation into the Nigeria’s intelligence chief and one of its most senior civil servants after some $43m in cash was found in an empty Lagos apartment last week.

The money is thought to be aid funds that were intended for people affected by the Boko Haram insurgency in the country’s poverty-stricken north east.

Nigeria’s National Intelligence Agency later claimed the money, which was found by the country’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission stashed in filing cabinets and a wardrobe after receiving a tip off from a whistleblower.

A statement from Nigeria’s presidential office said it had ordered a “full scale” investigation into how the NIA came to possess the funds, and whether it did so legally.

It suspended the agency’s director general, Ayo Oke, pending the outcome of the investigation.

Senior civil servant David Babachir Lawal, secretary to the government, who was responsible for awarding contracts under a government initiative leading interventions into the country’s north east, has also been suspended and placed under investigation.

Corruption is rife in Nigeria, which ranks high in Transparency International’s index of perceived graft.

Internationally, the country has achieved notoriety as one of the most corrupt in the world thanks to a number of high-profile scandals.

Buhari, who was elected in 2015 on a pledge to tackle endemic graft, has taken some measures to crack down on corruption. But observers have predicted any bid to clean up Nigeria’s political and business system will be a long and arduous battle

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