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Ayo Oritsejafor : South Africa ‘Refusing Settlement’, Insists On Criminal Probe

The jet conveying the money, Bombardier Challenger 6000, was said to belong to the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Ayo Oritsejafor

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Ayo Oritsejafor

(Nigerian Newspapers)

Reports have it that there may be indications that efforts of the Federal Government to settle amicably, the issues surrounding the $9.3m seized by South Africa government may have failed.

The Punch reports that South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority on Thursday said the matter was still under criminal investigations.

A private jet which contained $9.3m, was seized from 2 Nigerians and an Israeli in Johannesburg, South Africa, it was meant to purchase arms for intelligence agencies in Nigeria.

The jet conveying the money, Bombardier Challenger 6000, was said to belong to the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Ayo Oritsejafor.

It was gathered that the Federal Government were aware of the move to procure arms and had begun diplomatic talks with South Africa to ensure the issue was resolved.

Speaking to Punch, the South Africa’s NPA’s spokesman, Nathi Mncube said: “The matter is under criminal investigations by the Directorate of Priority Crimes of Investigations unit at South African Police Services.

“NPA does not comment on pending investigations and therefore cannot comment any other than providing the information contained in our media statement.”

The NPA, in a statement sent to our correspondent on Thursday, said that its asset forfeiture unit had obtained “an order in the North Gauteng High Court freezing a cash amount of US$9.34m (about R102m).”

According to the agency, the money is currently kept safe by the South African Reserve Bank

Giving an insight into the seizure, it said, “The cash consisted of 90 blocks of $100, 000 each and was found in two black plastic suitcases.”

The NPA stated that the order freezing the money was granted in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act which “provides that property that is used to commit a crime can be frozen while the NPA applies for a final order to forfeit the money to the state.”

It stated that the money was initially detained by the South African Revenue Service as it was not disclosed or declared at customs, and was above the prescribed legal limit for the amount of cash that could be brought into the country.

According to the statement, the NPA also submitted to the court that, although various explanations about the money were given to the investigating officer, these explanations were riddled with discrepancies.

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