African press review 15 December 2015

Nigeria's papers have a field day as big fish land in President Buhari's anti-graft dragnet.


We start with a bombshell in Nigeria: the arrest of former National Security Adviser Retired army colonel Mohammad Sambo Dasuki and other other top officials of the Jonathan administration on Monday for alleged diversion of public funds estimated at 32 billion Naira (146 million euros) that had been earmarked for arms purchases.

According to the Nation, also arraigned were the ex-Director of Finance in the office of the NSA, Shuaibu Salisu and the ex-Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Aminu Baba-Kusa.

Judicial sources at the federal High Court sitting in the capital Abuja are quoted as saying that the former officials are facing a 19-count charge of conspiracy and criminal breach of trust and the distribution of funds held in the account of the NSA in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to politicians, media practitioners and businessmen purportedly for political campaigns and organising of prayer sessions.

The Nation says it is able to confirm a fresh series of arraignments scheduled this Tuesday, that of the former Minister of State for Finance Bashir Yuguda, former Sokoto State Governor Attahiru Bafarawa and four others listed in a separate charge of 22 counts.

The Sun publishes excerpts of the charge sheet. The sum of 1.45 billion Naira (6 million euros) was transferred into the account of Acacia Holdings Limited for special prayers; 700,000 euros used for the purchase of a four-bedroom duplex; 1.7 million euros shared to support the re-election of members of the House of Representatives; and another 3.4 million euros paid into the account of Reliance Referral Hospital Limited for special prayers.

Other expenditures included the payment of 3 million euros to a publisher; and another 1.5 million euros traced to a former Senate President Iyorchia Ayu.

Vanguard says the embattled security czar is set to expose more top Nigerian leaders who benefitted from the funds. It quotes a source close to the former NSA chief who revealed that Mohammad Sambo Dasuki was ready to give details of top serving and retired Nigerian leaders who benefitted immensely from the money.

Punch has been monitoring developments relating to a bail application filed by the suspects. It reports that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has opposed the bail applications filed by the prime suspect Dasuki.

According to the paper, that was after the prosecution, in separate counter-affidavits to the bail applications, warned that the accused persons could abscond if granted bail.

Premium Times highlights the findings by an international think tank ranking Nigeria among the world's top 20 countries with the biggest loss from skewed financial transactions.

According to the report by the Washington-based Global Financial Integrity, research and advisory group, over 7.8 trillion dollars were siphoned off from the world’s developing countries between 2004 and 2013, with over 17.8 billion dollars in illicit financial flows from Nigeria.

And Nigeria's Chief of Army Staff Lt-Gen Tukur Buratai is a hit in todays Nigerian newspapers after surviving an ambush by suspected members of the Shi’ite Islamic sect in the Kaduna State city of Zaria on Saturday.

This Day reports that Buratai told journalists at a hastily-convened press conference in Abuja on Monday that his convoy was attacked by scores of armed and violent sect members on a major highway as he drove into the city for a military assignment adding that it was thanks to divine intervention that he escaped assassination.

Vanguard reports that the leader of the Shiite Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife were taken into military custody after the incident.

Sources close to the sect told Vanguard that at least one thousand of its members had been killed and their bodies evacuated by soldiers in clashes between the sect's members and the military, following the incidents.

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