Lagos - Nigeria's former national security adviser pleaded not guilty to money laundering Monday in connection with $423,000 in U.S. dollars and Nigerian naira seized at his homes.
Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki also denied charges of illegal possession of an arms cache including assault rifles and a submachine gun found when security agents raided his homes in Abuja, the capital, and the northern city of Sokoto in July. The raids came as Dasuki was trying to resign and Nigeria's new president demanded an accounting before he could go.
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Dasuki, 60, was a key adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan and had taken control of weapons procurement from the Ministry of Defense.
Nigeria's new President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered an investigation into military purchases since 2007 in his campaign to curb corruption and ensure the armed forces are properly equipped to fight Boko Haram's 6-year-old Islamic uprising that has killed 20,000 people.
Nigeria's Guardian newspaper Monday ran a column accusing Buhari of a "sheer witchhunt" and saying Dasuki is "a victim of political persecution."
One of Buhari's spokesmen, Garba Shehu, has accused Dasuki of plotting a coup against Buhari during March elections. Shehu called it Dasuki's second coup against Buhari, referring to the colonel's alleged arrest of Buhari during the 1985 palace coup that ended Buhari's brief tenure as a military dictator.