Ex-Nigeria govt. stole $15bn from arms deals: Vice President
Nigeria Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says about $15 billion of public money was stolen under the previous government through fraudulent arms deals.
Osinbajo said in a statement that the money was “lost… to fraudulent and corrupt practices in… security equipment spending during the last administration.”
“It is important to send a message that no public officer can steal the resources of this country and expect to escape,” he said, adding, “Society fails when the elite abdicates its role.”
The vice president noted that the huge sum is equivalent to about half of the country’s foreign exchange reserves of $27 billion.
President Muhammadu Buhari came to office in May 2015 on the pledge of fighting corruption and impunity in the government.
Several allies of former president Goodluck Jonathan have been tried after being accused of awarding fake arms deals worth $2bn. They, however, have denied such allegations.
The most senior figure arrested and charged is former national security advisor Sambo Dasuki. He is accused of diverting money assigned for military deals to fund the former president’s election campaign.
A former defense chief, Alex Badeh, is also accused of diverting $19.8 million from the personnel’s salaries for his own use.
Buhari has frequently said that he inherited an “empty treasury” when he took office.
The president’s critics, however, accused him of launching a witch-hunt against previous government officials.
Thousands of people and soldiers have been killed in north-eastern Nigeria in clashes with Boko Haram Takfiri militants over the past few years. When Jonathan was in power, soldiers reportedly complained about not having enough equipment despite the army’s huge budget.