The South African government has expressed readiness to return seized funds totalling $15 million, belonging to Nigeria and purportedly meant for arms purchase, saying it was only interested in due process.
Lulu Mnguni, South African ambassador to Nigeria, made the disclosure on Africa Independent Television (AIT) news programme on Tuesday night. He said his country was willing to resolve to discuss with Nigeria and resolve the controversy.
“Well, obviously we also in South Africa don’t want to keep Nigeria’s money, but we want to follow due process to address it. It’s their money and so they would like to have their money back,” Mnguni said.
“We’ve been selling arms to Nigeria for many years, so we don’t have a problem. Why should we not sell arms to Nigeria? If Nigeria needs arms to protect its citizens and its peoples, so we have to assist them,” he added.
On September 15, South African authorities had confiscated $9.3 million found in a private jet that flew into Johannesburg from Nigeria, accusing the occupants of attempting to smuggle the undeclared cash into their country.
Three weeks later, South Africa seized another sum of $5.7 million, declaring it as proceed of illegal transactions.
However, the Nigerian government has maintained that there is nothing shady about the deals.