Nigeria's accountant general faces corruption charges after arrest

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General view of empty roads in Abuja, Nigeria March 31, 2020. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

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ABUJA, May 16 (Reuters) - Nigeria's economic crimes agency said on Monday night it had arrested the country's accountant general over charges of diverting public funds and money laundering to the tune of 80 billion naira ($193 million).

Africa's biggest economy and energy producer, Nigeria has struggled for decades with endemic corruption among senior public servants and the political elite, who many Nigerians blame for widespread poverty in the country.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said in a statement it had invited Ahmed Idris, the administrative head of the national treasury, on several occasions to answer questions on the charges but he had failed to present himself.

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Idris could not be reached on his mobile phone for comment.

The EFCC said Idris used "proxies, family members and close associates" in deals and schemes to defraud the government and invested the proceeds in real estate in the nation's capital Abuja and his home state of Kano in northern Nigeria.

The agency has in the past successfully prosecuted a former head of police and former state governors among several high ranking government officials and politicians.

Earlier this year, the government said EFCC recovered at least $750 million in local and foreign currency linked to corruption and fraud in 2021.

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Editing by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Sandra Maler

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