Nigerian embassy lawyer held for embezzlement

Nigeria's antigraft body says it is questioning a lawyer accused of pocketing a $1.6 million U.S. tax refund due to Nigeria's embassy in Washington, D.C.

A spokesman for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said Wednesday it is holding Ephraim Emeka Ugwuonye, a Nigerian lawyer entrusted with the sale of four embassy properties in D.C.

Femi Babafemi said he was arrested Saturday at Lagos' international airport and that it had been a year since the body first sought his arrest.

He said Ugwuonye is facing several charges including the appropriation of $1.6 million which the IRS refunded to the Nigerian embassy after it sold properties worth a total of about $26 million between 2005 and 2007.

Ugwuonye, who is still in custody, was not available for comment.