$9.3m arms deal: Nigeria, South Africa open diplomatic talks •FG releases data on transaction, insists deal was legal

Posted by News Express | 16 September 2014 | 3,015 times

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Nigeria has opened diplomatic talks with South Africa on how to resolve the stalemate on the controversial $9.3m seized funds. Also, the Federal Government has released data and documents on the transaction process to South Africa.

The FG allegedly told South Africa that the transaction was “legitimate,” a top-level military source familiar with the transaction told News Express this evening.

It was learnt that as a result of the preliminary diplomatic talks, the Challenger Jet might have been released to the Nigeria Government pending the conclusion of a comprehensive investigation by South Africa.

According to findings, the bi-focal diplomatic talks with South Africa were both at governmental level and exchanges by intelligence services of the two African powerhouses.

A reliable source said the diplomacy also covered sharing of vital security information to prove that the deal was necessary.

It was gathered that the South African Government only faulted “non-declaration” of the cash by the delegation from Nigeria.

The source said: “Nigeria and South Africa are getting closer to a diplomatic resolution of the row over the $9.3m transaction. The two nations have opened up discussions.

“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 not laundered or smuggled for any covert manoeuvres. No launderer will be audacious to fly into a country in a chartered jet with such a huge cash.

“The technical details on security matters, which necessitated the desk, had been availed South Africa for screening.

“Based on initial scrutiny of the documents, the Challenger Jet has been released pending the conclusion of a full-scale investigation by South Africa.”

Asked why South Africa impounded the cash, the source replied: “There was procedural error at the airport, the team did not declare the $9.3 million contrary to the aviation and customs laws in South Africa.

“So, there was an oversight on the part of the delegation that went to complete the transaction.

“Nigeria is trying to complete the formality and we are confident that the cash will be released for the purpose it was meant for.”

According to the source, “Movement of cash for strategic purchase of security equipment by intelligence service is not new; it is a global trend. The FBI, KGB, MOSSAD and others do it.”

Photo shows Nigeria’s National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).

Source: News Express

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