Nigeria probes banknote graft

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Lagos - Nigeria's anti-graft agency said Friday the former head of the country's central bank had been questioned over a probe into alleged bribery related to a printing contract for banknotes.

The investigation centres on a contract for Securency, a note-printing firm partly owned by the Reserve Bank of Australia. Allegations have surfaced in Australia of corruption in various countries involving Securency and another RBA subsidiary, Note Printing Australia.

“We had Professor Charles Soludo in our custody yesterday. He was asked to explain his role in the award of contract for the printing of banknotes while in office,” Economic and Financial Crimes Commission spokesman Wilson Uwujaren told AFP.

He said the agency was probing allegations that Securency bribed top Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) officials to win the contract to print polymer notes between 2006 and 2008.

Uwujaren said Soludo, who was CBN governor from May 2004 to May 2009, was assisting the commission in the investigations and had been asked to report on Friday for further questioning.

After leaving the central bank, Soludo became the candidate of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party for governor of his southeastern Anambra state in February 2010, but lost the vote. - AFP


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