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Nigeria Denies Stealing Peacekeeping Funds

The Xinhua News
July 6, 2000

Nigeria has denied peculating money paid to it by the UN for the allowance of its soldiers taking part in the UN Mission in Sierra Leone, saying the money was "very much intact".

The News Agency of Nigeria Wednesday quoted the country's Chief of Army Staff Victor Malu as saying that the money disbursed to the country's 3,229 peacekeeping soldiers had not been paid to them as payment modalities were still being worked out.

Speaking late on Tuesday at a press conference in Lagos, Malu said that the 7.5 million U.S. dollars, which was paid in three instalments, fell short of the 18 million dollars due to the country from the UN, adding that an outstanding amount of more than 10 million dollars was still expected.

The Chief of Army Staff said the change-over from the West African Peace Keeping Force, called ECOMOG, to the UN mission necessitated a change in the allowance paid to the Nigerians, hence the need to work out new modalities for payment.

He explained that while the soldiers were paid five dollars per day under ECOMOG, they were entitled to 30 dollars per day under the UN mission.

He said, however, that Nigeria could not afford to pay 30 dollars, but would pay 20 dollars to its troops so as not to jeopardize discipline among them.

Nigeria's contingent to UNAMSIL is made up of four battalions, a tank company and headquarters staff.

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