BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: World: Africa
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Friday, 27 July, 2001, 03:04 GMT 04:04 UK
Cocoa corruption traps Nigerians
President Olusegun Obasanjo
Obasanjo vowed to stamp out corruption
By Chris Simpson in Lagos

In Nigeria, two former ministers have been ordered to pay back the equivalent of more than $20m after being named by a commission examining corruption in Nigeria's cocoa sector.

A statement issued by the office of President Olusegun Obasanjo said that former Trade Ministers, Retired Major General Patrick Aziza and Retired Vice Admiral Jibril Ayinla, had wrongly appropriated money from the Nigerian cocoa fund.

Both men held senior positions under the previous governments of Sani Abacha and Abdulsalami Abubakar.

Cocoa bean
Nigeria is mostly known for oil but $20m still went missing from its cocoa sector
Barely a week seems to go by in Nigeria at the moment without a fresh report or dossier naming names and demanding reparations.

On taking office, President Obasanjo promised an all-out drive against corruption and appointed a series of commissions to probe and chase.

One of many areas of concern was Nigeria's cocoa sector - negligible when compared to the country's oil industry but clearly in need of investigation.

Missing money

A panel headed by Justice Michael Eden has found that huge amounts of money went missing from a specially created cocoa buffer stock fund and the government has called on its agencies to take appropriate steps to get the money back.

In addition to his government portfolios, Mr Aziza served on a special military tribunal set up in 1995 to investigate an alleged coup plot against the Abacha government.

Sani Abacha
Following Sani Abacha's death, suitcases full of US dollars were found in his house
Amongst the prisoners convicted was current President Obasanjo.

Mr Aziza appeared before a human rights commission last month to defend his actions.

He strongly denied giving orders for the coup suspects to be tortured.

President Obasanjo recently remarked there were many guilty Nigerians still at large capable of committing fresh crimes against Nigeria.

See also:

10 Jan 01 | Africa
Timeline: Nigeria
11 Nov 99 | Africa
Nigeria confronts corruption
08 Apr 00 | Africa
Nigeria plane row takes off
10 Jun 99 | Africa
Nigeria purges military
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories