On Monday night, Nigeria’s economic crimes agency said that the country’s accountant general Ahmed Idris, has been arrested on charges of diverting public funds and money laundering totaling 80 billion naira ($193 million).
Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy and energy producer, has battled pervasive corruption among senior public officials and the political elite for decades, which many Nigerians blame for the country’s widespread poverty.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) stated in a statement that it had invited Ahmed Idris, the administrative director of the national treasury, to answer questions on the charges on many times but that he had failed to appear.
Idris could not be reached for comment on his cellphone.
According to the EFCC, Idris defrauded the government using “proxies, family members, and close acquaintances” and invested the money in real estate in Abuja and his native state of Kano in northern Nigeria.
Several high-ranking government officials and politicians have been successfully prosecuted by the agency in the past, including a former chief of police and former state governors.
EFCC recovered at least $750 million in local and international currencies linked to corruption and fraud in 2021, according to the government.