World News

Nigeria's anti-graft body seizes $9.8 million from state oil firm ex-boss

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria’s anti-corruption watchdog has seized $9.8 million in cash from the former head of the state oil company, a spokesman said on Friday, as the government continues to battle endemic corruption.

Graft, particularly in the oil sector on which Nigeria relies, has taken large sums from the country’s coffers.

President Muhammadu Buhari rode to victory in 2015 on an anti-corruption platform after widespread anger at the plundering of the state under his predecessor Goodluck Jonathan. But some have criticised the current administration’s efforts as ineffective.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) raided a building belonging to the former head of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, in Kaduna on Feb. 3, Friday’s statement said.

Yakubu was group managing director of NNPC from 2012 to 2014, under Jonathan.

In the house, officials found the cash in U.S. dollars in a fireproof safe, said the statement, adding that Yakubu had reported to the EFCC office in Kano on Feb. 8 and claimed ownership of the money.

Yakubu said the money was a gift, but did not say from whom, and is now assisting the investigation, the statement said.

Yakubu was not immediately available for comment.

Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Writing by Paul Carsten; Editing by Andrew Roche