World, Africa

2nd Nigerian ex-minister arrested over $2.1B graft case

Ex-aviation minister in Goodluck Jonathan administration seized outside court

Rafiu Oriyomi Ajakaye   | 21.10.2016
2nd Nigerian ex-minister arrested over $2.1B graft case FILE PHOTO


By Rafiu Ajakaye

LAGOS, Nigeria 

Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency on Friday arrested another former government minister in connection with a $2.1 billion corruption case.

Former aviation minister Femi Fani-Kayode was arrested at around 1.55 p.m. local time (1255GMT) outside a court building in Ikoyi, Lagos State.

On Monday, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrested Musliliu Obanikoro, who was a defense minister in the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

The EFCC is investigating the misappropriation of $2.1 billion earmarked for the fight against Boko Haram, part of the alleged theft of $6.8 billion of public funds by senior officials in Jonathan’s administration and the People’s Democratic Party.

Other former officials in the Jonathan government, including a former security advisor, military chiefs and prominent politicians, are being tried in connection with the alleged embezzlement of the arms money.

Fani-Kayode, who acted as spokesman in Jonathan’s failed 2014 presidential campaign, was arrested in front of the Federal High Court building in Ikoyi as he left a hearing in another corruption case where he is on trial, a court official said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.

His arrest came a few days after his wife was briefly detained as she attempted to withdraw money from an account flagged by the EFCC over money laundering.

The former minister had predicted his arrest in a statement on Thursday, claiming he was to be charged for being involved in the mismanagement of the funds meant for buying military equipment.

He accused the EFCC of pursuing “trumped up” and politically-motivated charges against him.

A government source said Fani-Kayode was arrested for allegedly collecting $84,000 from the arms funds in 2014.

In May he was arrested over charges of money laundering and spent 67 days in detention before he was arraigned in court.

The EFCC did not immediately respond to Anadolu Agency’s request for comment.

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