Hand over those behind $9.3 million scandal for trial, Change Movement tells Jonathan •Raises 10 questions

Posted by News Express | 26 September 2014 | 4,720 times

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President Goodluck Jonathan has been requested to hand over those behind the $9.3 million scandal to enable them face justice.

Change Movement Nigeria made the request in a statement issued yesterday in Lagos, a copy of which was made available to News Express. The statement, which was signed by Olu Adegoke, Founder and national Co-ordinator of the group, strongly condemned the South African misadventure and raised ten questions for which it demanded answers. The statement reads:

“We received with great shock the news of the jet caught in South Africa on the 5th of September 2014 with stock-piled $100 notes to the tune of $9.3 million. It has also become public knowledge that the said private jet, a Bombardier Challenger 600, belongs to Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). The jet had since returned to Nigeria, whereas the ferried sum, some N1.5 billion, remained frozen in the South African Reserve Bank. Having read the defence put forward by Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor and most especially the Federal Government’s justification for the $9.3 million scandal, the following questions beg for answers:

“1. Who appropriated the $9.3 million and for what purpose? 2. Who ought to be buying military equipment for our soldiers? Contractors or our Defence HQ and Ministry of Defence? And how come an Israeli finds himself in a sensitive defence issue like buying arms for Nigeria? 3. How come that it took the Federal Government a whole ten days to admit its involvement in this scandal? 4. How does entering a country with undeclared $9.3 million a “mere procedural error”? 5. How can we be said to be promoting a cashless policy at home and be exporting $ 9.3 million cash abroad? 6. Why was the South African Government not informed of our intent to buy arms beforehand? 7. If indeed the manufacturer(s) of such equipment was/were expecting such large amount by cash, why did they not make adequate arrangements with the authorities in South Africa to declare and clear the cash on arrival? 8. Why was money meant for purchase of equipment for the Federal Government moved by a private jet and by private individuals? What happened to the jets in the Presidential fleet? 9. Why would a whole government of Nigeria not know the simple immigration laws of a sister African nation before allowing that huge amount of cash to be taken to that country? 10. Why have Government agencies in Nigeria, such as Nigerian Customs Service, the Nigeria Immigration Service and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, kept mum over the seized fund?

“Confronted with these hard questions, it was so despicable and ridiculing that the Nigerian government will put up that ragtag beer-parlour defense. It was like hiding behind a toddler’s little finger. Every indices point to the illegality of this whole transaction or a transaction meant for an illegal sinister motive which the actors want untraceable. It was a covert, illegal operation that flopped. Thanks to the prayers of Nigerians and the vigilance of the South African authorities.

“We are shocked again that the Government that should uphold and enforce the laws of the land has turned round to be the chief-breaker. Only God knows how many of such illicit transactions have been going on clandestinely. By admitting that it knows about this disgraceful operation, the Federal Government made a mockery of all our anti-money laundering efforts. Section 2 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 clearly pegged the cash transfer allowed into a foreign country at $10,000 or its equivalent. The law stipulates that any cash transfer exceeding that limit must be reported to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) within 7 days from the date of the transaction. The law also requires transportation of cash exceeding the limit be declared to the Nigerian Customs Service. Section 12 (b) of the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring Miscellaneous Provision) Act stipulates that “foreign currency in excess of US $5,000 or its equivalent, whether being imported into or exported out of Nigeria, shall be declared on the prescribed form for reasons of statistics only.”

“Finally, Section 25 of the same law requires any international cash transfer exceeding $10,000 or its equivalent to be reported to the Central Bank. Going by the above, we therefore join our voice with those of many other well-meaning Nigerians that the National Assembly should prevail on President Goodluck Jonathan to hand over those responsible for this illegal transaction.

“Secondly, we urge the Federal Government to come clean on this issue and bring those culpable of this infraction that constitutes a national disgrace and embarrassment to Nigeria in the comity of nations. And we hope this serious scandal will not be swept, like many others, under the already swollen and stinking carpet of many sleazes under the current administration. We support the investigators in South Africa and wish to express our confidence that the South African judiciary will shed light on this shoddy deal and prosecute the three personalities in their net, including their paymasters in Nigeria.”

•Photo shows Change Movement Co-ordinator, Olu Adegoke.

Source: News Express

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