The Sokoto State office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of Nigeria has arrested two Chinese nationals Meng Kun and Xu Koi for allegedly attempting to bribe the head of EFCC zonal office, Mr. Abdullahi Lawal with N 100 Million.
The suspects were arrested in Sokoto with the cash as evidence.
The commission said the bribe was offered its Sokoto zonal head to compromise investigations into the operations of China Zhonghao Nig. Ltd, a company the two arrested persons work for.
The Chinese owned company, China Zhonghao Nig. Ltd, is under investigations following two contracts awarded by the Zamfara state government to the company to construct township roads in Gummi, Bukkuyun, Anka and Nassarawa in Zamfara State and the construction of 168 solar powered boreholes in the 14 local government areas of the state.
The EFCC said the investigation is as a result of intelligence gathered on alleged conspiracy, embezzlement and money laundering against the Zamfara State.
The construction company had reportedly received payments of over N 41 billion “but diverted about N 16 billion which the commission has traced to some bureau de change operators”.
Worried by the professional conduct and consistency of the investigations, China Zhonghao Nig. Ltd reached out to Abdullahi Lawal and offered him N 100 Million bribe to “bury the matter”, the EFCC statement said. The first instalment of a total of N 100 million was paid by the two arrested representatives of the company in cash contained in 4 table water boxes.
“In a grand design to trap the corrupt officials, Lawal played along and on Monday, two representatives of the company, Meng Wei Kun and Xu Kuoi, offered him cash totalling N 50 million in their office along Airport Road, Sokoto. This adds to the tall list of Chinese corruption in Africa and brings to light the extent of the canker in many African countries by some Chinese investors.
Instances of Chinese business involved in corruption and other forms of illegality in Africa is not a new phenomenon as many African countries with poor, weak and corrupt systems create a safe haven for such wickedness to go on.
Ghana, Nigeria, Congo and many other mineral rich African countries continue to battle the influx of Chinese illegal mining activities obviously perpetuated with high success with the connivance of indigenes.
On 28th April 2020, Nigeria police in Zamfara arrested some Chinese nationals for engaging in illegal mining activities. They were later transferred to Abuja for prosecution. The News media in Africa is awash with similar illegalities perpetuated by Chinese nationals in different African countries.
The action taken by the EFCC zonal office in Sokoto state and the conduct of its Zonal head, Mr. Abudullai Lawal in particular is not only commendable but also heroic and patriotic.
Many on the continent are praising officials in Sokoto state for standing up to such high temptation and enforcing the law but how many officials in Africa are willing to this?
African governments must sit up and demand respect for anti-corruption laws by enforcing the laws without fear or favour of nationality or status as investors.