Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, has arrested two Chinese nationals for allegedly offering a $250,000 bribe in local currency to one of its senior officials.

Meng Wei Kun and Xu Koi were arrested on Tuesday inside in their office in the northern city of Sokoto as they gave the money stacked in boxes to the official who pretended to have accepted the bribe, the commission has said.

The alleged bribe was said to be an attempt to scuttle an investigation into multi-million dollar corruption allegations involving a Chinese construction company in Nigeria where the two suspects work.

The anti-corruption agency said it was investigating alleged corruption involving about $130m in contracts for roads and water projects. It is also investigating money laundering claims.

The contracts were awarded by Nigeria’s Zamfara state government to China Zhonghoa Nigeria Limited between 2012 and 2019. Neither the Chinese company nor its officials have commented on the matter.

Arrests of officials of foreign companies linked to corruption are rare in Nigeria.

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