24 Sep 2014

Senate begins investigation of $9.3million seized by South Africa

The Senate in Nigeria has started the investigation of the $9.3 million seized by South African authorities from two Nigerians and one Israeli that came in with a private jet.

The Senate committee on Defence and Army, which is investigating the incident, held a close door meeting with security chiefs at the National Assembly on Tuesday.

The Chairman of the committee, Senator Thompson Sekibo, confirmed that the $9.3 million seized by the South African authorities belonged to the Federal Government.

The government had claimed ownership of the funds, explaining that they were meant for purchase of arms for Nigeria’s intelligence agencies to tackle security challenges in some parts of the north.

Earlier, at the House of Representatives, opposition lawmakers pushed a motion, seeking a debate on the funds, but it was turned down my majority of the house in a vote. After the speaker of the House set the motion aside, the opposition lawmakers walked out of the plenary in protest.

The Nigerians and the Israeli were arrested by South African police and are being investigated for trying to bring in $9.3 million in cash into the country illegally.

A spokesman to the force said that funds were apparently meant for an arms deal.

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) seized the funds at Lanseria Airport, north-west of Johannesburg, on September 5.

According to a Reuters report, SARS spokeswoman, Marika Muller, said that the funds were held at the central bank as police investigate.

“The passengers’ luggage was searched after Customs officials detected irregularities,” Muller said.

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