Nigeria Court Accuses Ex-President’s Campaigners of Embezzlement

  • Campaign officials charged with embezzling 4.9 billion naira
  • Jonathan’s campaign officials plead not guilty to charge

A Nigerian court charged the media and finance directors of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s failed re-election campaign with embezzling 4.9 billion naira ($17.4 million).

Femi Fani-Kayode, the director of media and publicity of the People’s Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Organization, and its finance director Nenadi Esther Usman, both former cabinet ministers, were arraigned in the Federal High Court in Lagos Wednesday with two co-defendants, according to a statement by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

“The accused were alleged to have stolen and illegally disbursed about 4.9 billion naira belonging to the Federal Government of Nigeria for personal and political uses," according to the statement. The defendants, who pleaded not guilty, are being held in police custody until the case resumes on July 1.

This is the latest case to bring officials close to Jonathan under scrutiny, including his national security adviser and former party spokesman. The government of President Muhammadu Buhari, who was elected last year on an anti-corruption platform, said it has recovered more than $500 million of missing state funds.

Jonathan said in an interview with Bloomberg television this month that he was also being investigated, while defending his record on curbing corruption in Africa’s biggest economy.

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