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Last Updated: Monday, 4 April, 2005, 14:48 GMT 15:48 UK
Nigeria ex-police chief charged
Former inspector general of Nigeria's police Tafa Balogun
Mr Balogun was forced to retire in January over corruption allegations
Nigeria's former chief of police has been charged in the High Court with 70 counts of laundering and stealing money in the region of $98m.

Handcuffed and subdued Tafa Balogun, who was forced to resign in January, pleaded not guilty.

He will remain in custody until the court next meets on 18 April.

Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo warned officials last month that their greed was undermining his attempts to win international debt relief.

Vocal fight

According to the BBC's Mannir Dan Ali at the High Court, Mr Balogun was indicted with 30 charges of money laundering and 40 charges of stealing money.

The judge said his application for bail would not be considered until the case resumed in 14 days.

Mr Balogun - who had been police inspector-general for nearly three years and in the police force for more than 28 years - was taken in for questioning by Nigeria's anti-graft watchdog, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), last week.

He stepped down after the EFCC revealed it was investigating large sums of money held in Lagos bank accounts linked to him.

President Obasanjo has been vocal in his commitment to tackling corruption and in March sacked his education minister, Fabian Osuji, in a broadcast to the nation during which he said 14 people had been involved in fraud.

He accused Mr Osuji of offering a bribe of 55m naira ($417,000) to senate president Adolfus Wabara as he tried to secure a bigger budget for his ministry.

Mr Osuji has said he will sue the government over his televised dismissal, claiming it violated his human rights.

Oil-rich Nigeria is trying to shake off its reputation as one of the world's most corrupt countries.

The EFCC estimates 45% of Nigeria's oil revenues are wasted, stolen or siphoned away by corrupt officials.


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