A car manufacturer has pleaded guilty to illegally selling armoured vehicles complete with gun turrets to an African army in an incident straight out the ‘Lord of War’ film.
The gun turrets of the armoured vehicles were reportedly dismantled and hidden when they were shipped from the Honker military car factory in the city of Lublin in the Lublin Voivodeship in eastern Poland to Nigeria.
Local media report the Nigerian army made an order of 13 Scorpion armoured vehicles from Honker in 2015, with the vehicles worth 31,000 GBP despite the company not having licences to sell them abroad.
The Scorpion armoured vehicles were then dismantled, with the gun turrets hidden and the holes in the roofs where they normally stand were masked, according to reports.
The vehicles were then reportedly put in the end of the shipping containers and taken to Nigeria by boat despite Honker not having the required permits and concessions for the sale of weapons abroad.
The deal was worth 290,000 GBP in total and the cars were given customs clearance as civilian vehicles during the shipment which occurred in 2016, according to reports.
The Polish Internal Security Agency launched an investigation into the incident and Zbigniew Tyminski, the 59-year-old CEO of the Lublin factory, was accused of producing and selling weapons without the required permit and concessions.
He pleaded guilty but reportedly refused to give an explanation for his actions. The processing of the case is expected to start this year and Tyminski faces 10 years behind bars if found guilty.
The Skorpion is a 4WD, fully armoured vehicle, with bullet-proof windows.
The vehicles were reportedly used in Iraq by Polish soldiers who were reportedly not completely satisfied with them. However, the vehicles were much cheaper than other armoured vehicles and are said to have attracted the interest of many contractors from around the world.
The case is similar to the scene in the popular 2005 film Lord of War with Nicolas Cage when his character Yuri Orlov avoids being detained by Interpol agent Jack Valentine (Ethan Hawke) for smuggling a military helicopter.
He had removed the weaponry and told Valentine that the weapons were for a “different client at a different address”, while the chopper was a “rescue helicopter.”