Nigerian Government has defended the controversial $9.3million seized from a private jet by South African immigration on September 5th. In a diplomatic discussion it opened with the South African government yesterday September 16th, FG said they are aware of the deal (money was meant to procure arms) and have presented documents on the transaction process to the South African govt as proof that the entire operation involving the seized aircraft belonging to CAN president, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, was genuine.
A source who spoke with Vanguard confirmed the on-going discussion between the two governments and said the seized aircraft has been released by the South African government. The source added that the money was seized following failure by Nigerian delegates to declare the money at South African airport
“Nigeria and South Africa are getting closer to diplomatic resolution of the row over the $9.3m transaction. The two nations have opened 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 neither laundered nor smuggled for any covert manoeuvres. No launderer will be audacious to fly into a country in a chartered jet with such huge cash. The technical details on security matters, which necessitated the deal had been availed South Africa for screening. Based on initial scrutiny of the documents, the Challenger Jet has been released pending conclusion of a full-scale investigation by South Africa. There was procedural error at the airport, the team did not declare the $9.3million contrary to the aviation and Customs laws of 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. Movement of cash for strategic purchase of security equipment by intelligence services is not new; it is a global trend. The FBI, KGB, MOSSAD and others do it.” the source said