Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has arrested two Chinese nationals for attempting to bribe one of its senior officials.
Meng Kun and Xu Koi were arrested on Monday for allegedly offering a bribe of $250,000 (N100 million) to the head of the Sokoto Zonal Office of the EFCC, local media reports.
The bribe was said to be offered in “desperate” effort to stop ongoing investigations of a construction company, China Zhonghao Nig. Ltd involving about $130 million in contracts between 2012 and 2019, the Vanguard states.
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The contracts were awarded by Nigeria’s Zamfara state government to the company where the two suspects worked. A statement by the EFCC’s spokesperson, Dele Oyewale said the suspects were arrested with the cash as evidence, the Premium Times reports.
“Alarmed by the consistency and professionalism of investigation being conducted, the company reached out to Lawal with an offer of N100 million as bribe to “bury” the matter,” the statement said.
According to the commission, in a grand design to trap the corrupt officials, Lawal played along and on Monday, the suspects offered him cash totaling $127,883.78 (N50 million) in their office along Airport Road, Sokoto. The cash was offered as a first installment.
They are expected to be arraigned before the courts soon.
“Investigation of the construction company was informed by an intelligence on alleged conspiracy, misappropriation of public funds, embezzlement, official corruption, abuse of office, stealing and money laundering obtained against the Zamfara State government through inflated and uncompleted contracts awarded to the company.
“Investigations have so far revealed that China Zounghao Ltd has received payments of over N41 billion from the Zamfara State government, out of which about N16 billion, equivalent of over $53 million was allegedly diverted and traced to some bureau de change operators,” the commission said.
This arrest comes on the back of the closure of a Chinese restaurant in Lagos over its discriminatory policy against Nigerians. The Haufei Restaurant and Mall was shut down for refusing to serve Nigerians.
It followed covert investigations at the facility by operatives of Nigeria’s Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Committee (FCCPC) that found evidence of discrimination against Nigerian citizens.