Again, S'Africa seizes $5.7m arms cash from Nigeria

By The Citizen
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The Asset Forfeiture Unit of the National Prosecuting Authority has seized $5.7m (R64m) for yet another arms deal between South Africa and Nigeria.

This is the second multimillion-rand arms deal between the two countries in the past month that has resulted in the money being frozen in South African banks.

Last month, R103m in $100 bills stashed in suitcases was seized at Lanseria Airport, north of Joburg.

The money was frozen in both cases for allegedly being the proceeds of illegal transactions.

City Press' sister paper Rapport has learnt that the department for offences against the state in the Special Investigating Unit is also involved.

Documents in the newspaper's possession show that the earlier consignment was approved by the Nigerian government - that country's national security adviser personally issued the end-user certificate for the transaction.

An entire 'shopping list' was supplied with the certificate, which included everything from helicopters to unmanned aircraft, rockets and ammunition.

Sources close to the investigation said the latest transaction was between Cerberus Risk Solutions, an arms broker in Cape Town, and Societe D'Equipments Internationaux, a Nigerian company in Abuja.

An impeccable source said this company paid the R60m into Cerberus' account at Standard Bank.

Cerberus was previously registered as a broker with the National Conventional Arms Control Committee, but the registration expired in May this year.

The marketing and contracting permits also expired at the same time.

The company has since applied for re-registration, but the application lay in the NCACC's mailbox for more than two months.

Sources told Rapport that Cerberus apparently tried to pay the money back to the Nigerian company, after which the bank became suspicious.

The NPA's Asset Forfeiture Unit subsequently obtained a court order in the South Gauteng High Court to seize the money. Cerberus' attorney, Martin Hood, this week declined to comment on the matter.

NPA spokesperson Nathi Mncube said there were no indications that the two transactions were related.

'However, both are now the subject of a criminal investigation and all possible information and connections are being investigated,' said Mncube.   BY CITYPRESS.CO.ZA