The private jet may have been released to the Nigerian government pending the conclusion of a comprehensive investigation by South Africa as a result of the preliminary diplomatic talks held by both governments.
The Federal Government has reportedly opened diplomatic discussions with South Africa on the seizure of the illegal cash imported by two Nigerians and an Israeli citizen to purchase arms on behalf of Nigerian security services.
The government insisted the deal was not illegal.
Initial reports had it that a private jet belonging to Ayo Oritsejafor, the National President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), was used to convey the ‘illegal’ money but the pastor has denied any involvement in the alleged deal.
According to Vanguard , the private jet may have been released to the Nigerian government pending the conclusion of a comprehensive investigation by South Africa as a result of the preliminary diplomatic talks held by both governments.
It was gathered from a source that the South African Government only faulted “non-declaration” of the cash by the delegation from Nigeria.
The source said: “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.”
Asked why South Africa impounded the cash, the source added: “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.”
The source added that, “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.”