South Africa set to return seized $15m arms money

 
                                               Jacob Zuma, South African President



South Africa government has disclosed that it will evolve
a legal framework with Nigeria to avert a situation
where the Federal Government’s funds for arms are
seized in future.
The South African Secretary for Defence and Military
Veterans, Dr. Sam Gulube, said this while fielding
questions from journalists shortly after the opening
ceremony of the Nigeria-South Africa Defence Industry
inaugural seminar on Monday in Abuja.
The South African Revenue Service seized Nigeria’s
$15m meant for arms purchase at Lanseria Airport,
north-west of Johannesburg, on September 5, 2014, but
the money had yet to be released almost two years
after.
President Jacob Zuma of South Africa had, while on a
three-day state visit to Nigeria in March, stated that the
money would be released after all the investigations
were concluded.
But Gulube, who led the South African delegation to the
seminar, explained that the “issue had been settled,”
adding that he would discuss the legal framework with
his Nigerian counterpart to guard against future
recurrence.
“The issue has been settled, but to avoid a future
recurrence, I would hold a discussion with my
counterparts and look into the legal framework to
ensure that seizure of funds doesn’t recur,” he said.
ulube, an apartheid era combatant, said the seminar
would help South Africa and Nigeria to identify tools to
develop to face today’s threats, stressing that he was in
the country to learn from Nigeria.
He stated, “This seminar would play critical roles to
ensure the two countries have peace and security so
they can have prosperity. The defence industry has
great roles to play in development and economic
security and it is only through advancement of defence
technology that the two economies can grow and
reduce dependence on oil and other mineral resources.”
He lauded Nigeria’s leading roles during his country’s
struggle with apartheid, saying South Africa could not
have been where it was today without Nigeria’s support.
The defence Secretary added that all the people that
fought for his country’s liberation received military and
academic trainings in Nigeria.
In his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary,
Ministry of Defence, Ambassador Danjuma Sheni, said
the seminar was holding at a time Africa was facing
enormous security challenges, including terrorism, food
insecurity and displacement of persons.
Sheni observed that Nigeria and South Africa
represented the two main economic and military powers
in Africa.
He added that to avoid conflict that might arise from
contention for influence on the continent by the two
countries, bilateral relationship must be based on
cooperation, consultation and confidence-building
measures.

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