The South African government is ready to return the seized two tranches of money totaling $15million belonging to Nigeria meant for arms purchase in South Africa, thereby putting to rest the controversy in and outside the country surrounding the seizures.
The South African Ambassador to Nigeria, Lulu Mnguni, who made the revelation on African Independent Television (AIT) news programme last night, said his country was willing to talk to Nigeria in order to resolve the imbroglio, adding that Pretoria was not willing to keep Nigeria’s money as it is only interested in due process.
South African operatives had confiscated $9.3m stashed in three suitcases on September 5, 2014 at Lanseria International Airport, Johannesburg, in a private jet which flew in from Nigeria, accusing the occupants of attempting to smuggle the undeclared cash into their country.
While the controversy on the propriety of the botched transaction was ongoing, the South African authorities seized yet another $5.7million cash belong to Nigeria for arms purchase.
The envoy said: “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.”
He also disclosed that his country was willing to sell arms to Nigeria in order to contain the Boko Hara insurgency facing the country, adding South Africa was a long-time supplier of arms to Nigeria.
“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,” Monaisa added.
South Africa’s Asset Forfeiture Unit of the National Prosecuting Authority had seized the funds for allegedly being the proceeds of illegal transactions.