Nigeria Says $15 Billion Stolen in Security Spending Scams

LAGOS, Nigeria, Capital Markets in Africa — Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said about $15 billion was lost by the previous administration to fraudulent security spending scams, almost three times more than was previously estimated by the government.

Osinbajo, who along with President Muhammadu Buhari defeated Goodluck Jonathan in elections last year on an anti-corruption campaign, said that the figure had only been discovered a few days ago, dwarfing the previous estimate of $5.5 billion allegedly misappropriated from contracts to buy defense equipment to fight the Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

The amount “is more than half of the current foreign reserves of the country,” Osinbajo said in a statement. “When you look at the sheer amount of money that has been embezzled, the sheer amount of money lost from any of these various cases of corruption, you will find that far too much has been lost.”

Last year Buhari, a 73-year-old former general and military ruler, ordered the arrest of Sambo Dasuki, Jonathan’s national security adviser, after a government commission alleged that he and other officials siphoned off funds meant for the military’s fight against Boko Haram. Dasuki, who is currently facing trial, has denied any wrong-doing.

Government investigators say Dasuki awarded “phantom” contracts for the purchase of four jets, 12 helicopters and bombs while troops on the front line against Boko Haram, which has killed thousands since 2009, complained of shortages of food, ammunition and equipment.

Leave a Comment