Former Nigerian minister arrested over arms deal

2015-12-01 22:01

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Lagos - A former Nigerian finance minister was arrested by the country's anti-graft agency on Tuesday over a multi-billion dollar arms deal which a government investigation said was fraudulent.

Bashir Yuguda, formerly a junior finance minister, was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside several other people accused of stealing funds through fraudulent arms contracts, commission spokesperson Wilson Uwujaren told dpa.

Presidential spokesman Femi Adeshina said an interim report on an investigation into arms procurement since 2007 showed that contracts worth more than $2.4bn were awarded to companies that never supplied the hardware, which included four Alpha Jets, 12 helicopters, bombs and ammunition. 

Adeshina said the funds that meant to purchase the arms were made available "within the same period that our troops fighting the insurgency in the north-east were in desperate need of platforms, military equipment and ammunition."

The Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria's north-east has claimed thousands of lives and displaced more than two million people. Troops fighting the insurgency said they suffered lots of setbacks because they were poorly equipped. 

The investigation into the arms deal is one of several investigations being carried out after President Muhammadu Buhari took power from former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Buhari took over from Jonathan in May this year with a pledge to investigate corrupt practices by past administrations. 

Read more on:    nigeria  |  west africa

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