Page last updated at 16:28 GMT, Monday, 22 December 2008

Nigeria ex-minister is wanted man

Nigerian Naira
Nigeria is ranked one of most corrupt countries in the world

A Nigerian ex-minister has been named as an official suspect in the disappearance of hundreds of millions of dollars of government funds.

Nigeria's anti-sleaze body said Nasir el-Rufai, ex-minister for the federal capital Abuja, is wanted for allegedly misappropriating $246m (167m).

The corruption watchdog said Mr Rufai had ignored a number of deadlines to appear before the commission.

He had told the anti-corruption agency that he was busy studying in the US.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said it had grown tired of waiting for Mr Rufai to come forward and answer its questions.

During his time as a minister - under former President Olusegun Obasanjo - Mr Rufai had a reputation for attacking corruption in government.


"Instead of seizing the opportunity to respond to the weighty allegations against him, he has resorted to a hide-and-seek game, and an appalling show of impunity on the pages of newspapers," according to the EFCC statement.

On Sunday several Nigerian newspapers carried statements by Mr Rufai.

"Come and get me," he was quoted by one title as having said. "In any case I have no intention of coming back to get my passport confiscated."

Despite recent anti-corruption campaigns, Transparency International still ranks Nigeria as one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

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