On Tuesday, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) seized $8 million wrapped in large brown envelopes at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in the country’s commercial capital, Lagos.
The huge sum of money was allegedly being smuggled out of the country by a “money laundering syndicate assisting corrupt government officials,” customs boss Hameed Ali said.
Ali, the NCS controller-general said a total of $8,065,615 was stashed in a car. The two drivers working in a company at the airport who were caught moving the money into the airport are now in police custody.
At a press conference in Lagos on Tuesday, Ali said the money was confiscated as it was about to be loaded into an aircraft.
The name of the drivers or the aircraft were not divulged to the media. However, the vehicle which had the stash of money wrapped in brown envelopes belongs to the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO).
He, however, added that when the customs service finds the owners of the money, they will be revealed to the public.
“From the day we seized this money, no bank has come to claim ownership. But our investigation will reveal the mystery behind the owners,” Ali said.
Last month, a Nigerian church accountant was sentenced to 18 years in prison for stealing donations.
Ibrahim Aku of the Church of Brethren in Nigeria’s Adamawa State was sentenced over the theft of $43,000 (15 million Naira) belonging to the church.
Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Aku before the Adamawa State High Court after the church petitioned the Commission, Vanguard reports.
Investigations by the EFCC found out that Aku had embezzled the money.
The court heard that Aku was entrusted by the church to deposit the church’s revenue into its accounts, but he ended up diverting same and forged bank tellers to balance the financial books.
With an accomplice who is now on the run, Aku forged the stamps of the banks which were used in carrying out the fraud.
The accomplice was reported to have received 500,000 Naira from Aku to help him with the transaction.
The high court has ordered Aku to return the money to the church and that anything bought with the money be sold.
According to Vanguard, Aku pleaded guilty to six counts that included forgery and obtaining money by false pretense.
He was then sentenced to three years for each count.