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Investigation Reveals Emefiele’s 593 Illicit Accounts in US, UK, and China

Emefiele (News Central TV)

The former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele, illegally operated at least 593 bank accounts in China, the United States, and the United Kingdom without the authorisation of the apex bank’s board of directors and the CBN Investment Committee.

Investigations found that the embattled former CBN governor lodged £543, 482,213 in fixed deposits in UK banks alone without authorisation, the Special Investigator on the CBN and Related Entities, Jim Obaze confirmed.

 Obaze submitted his final report marked, ‘Report of the Special Investigation on CBN and Related Entities (Chargeable offences)’ to President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday.

In part, it reads, “The former governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele invested Nigeria’s money without authorization in 593 foreign bank accounts in United States, China and United Kingdom, while he was in charge.

“All the accounts where the billions were lodged have all been traced by the investigator.”

President Bola Tinubu had named a former Executive Secretary of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, Obaze, as the CBN special investigator on July 28, 2023.

Emefiele, who is currently doing time at the Kuje Custodial Centre, is being accused of procurement fraud to the tune of N1.2 billion.

He has a pending bail of N300 million granted him by a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory on November 22.

The former apex bank governor may face fresh criminal charges over the handling of the CBN naira redesign policy.

Emefiele could be prosecuted for illegal issuance of currency under section 19 of the CBN Act alongside Tunde Sabiu, a former aide to former President Muhammadu Buhari, and 12 top directors of the CBN.

Investigations show that the naira redesign policy was done without the approval of the board of the CBN. It was presented to Buhari at the instance of Sabiu.

The investigator found that Buhari didn’t approve of the naira redesign. It was Tunde Sabiu who first told Emefiele in September 2022 to consider the redesign of the naira. On October 6, 2022, Emefiele wrote to Buhari that he wanted to redesign and reconfigure N1000, N500 and N200 notes.

“The former President tagged along but did not approve the redesign as required by law. Buhari merely approved that the currency be printed in Nigeria. The redesign was only mentioned to the board of the CBN on December 15, 2022, after Emefiele had awarded the contract to the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc on October 31, 2022,” the documents noted.

After the NSPM said it could not deliver the contract within a short timeframe, Emefiele contracted the redesign of the naira to De La Rue of the UK for £205, 000 pounds under the vote head of the Currency Operations Department.

The special investigator found that N61.5Billion was earmarked for the printing of the new notes out of which N31.79 Billion had been paid.

Special Investigator on the CBN and Related Entities, Jim Obaze

N769 Billion of the new notes were in circulation as of August 9, 2023, findings revealed.

The probe of the Apex Bank showed the misuse of the COVID-19 intervention fund and the fraudulent use of N26.627 trillion Ways and Means of the Apex Bank.

For instance, the CBN under Emefiele at its 661st meeting held on October 27, 2020, approved that the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account should be debited with the sum of N124.860billion, and the decision was implemented on October 9.

Similarly, the Committee of Governors at its 670th meeting held on December 9, 2020, granted anticipatory approval ‘pending receipt of a formal request by Mr President and ratification by the board of directors the payment of the sum of N250billion only to the Federal Government of Nigeria to address challenges as a result of low revenue inflow and the payment of salaries’. The decision was implemented on December 15, 2020.

On December 30, 2020, the committee of governors at its 672nd meeting granted another anticipatory approval for N250bn to the Federal Government for payment of salaries pending receipt of a formal request by Mr President and ratification by the board of directors.

The apex bank’s management through the Finance and General Purpose Committee equally granted anticipatory approval on the investment of $200mn in equity warrants of the Africa Finance Corporation.

According to section 38 of the CBN Act, 2007, the CBN could grant temporary advances to the Federal Government in respect of temporary deficiency of budget revenue at an interest.

The section also provides that such advances are to be repaid by the end of the financial year in which they are granted otherwise, the CBN shall be stopped from granting such advances in the subsequent year.

The advance is not to be repaid by way of promissory note, securitization or issuance of treasury bills.

The CBN investigator discovered that the CBN Ways and Means was abused under the Buhari administration.

The document further said, “In an instance, they (senior CBN and government officials) padded what the former President Muhammadu Buhari approved with N198,963,162, 187. There are instances where no approvals are received from the former president and yet, N500bn is taken and debited to Ways and Means.

Former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele

“There are more shocking instances where the erstwhile CBN governor and his four deputy governors connived to steal outright in order to balance the books of the CBN.

“This was by violently taking money from the Consolidated Revenue account and then charging it to Ways and Means. It was a total of N124.860bn. They even created the narration as a presidential subsidy and expanded the ways and Means portfolio to accommodate crime…”

Again, the investigator noticed how Emefiele misrepresented the presidential approval for the NESI Stabilisation Strategy Limited approved by former president Goodluck Jonathan.

The document read, “The Presidential approval granted by then President Goodluck Jonathan was rightly stated by him NESI should be a company limited by guarantee but the Committee of Governors misled the Board of the CBN by relying on non-existent advice by the office of Attorney-General and Minister of Justice to incorporate a company limited by shares for which the allotted share capital exceeded the authorised share capital (See 380th meeting of the Committee of Governors held in January in January 2015) and allotting unauthorised share capital to Mr Godwin Emefiele and Mr Mudashiru Olaitan without lawful approval by the President.

“N1.325bn was stolen pre-incorporation and the money funnelled to four companies, including a legal firm which got N300mn.”

Emefiele also allegedly deposited N17.2bn to 14 deposit money banks participating in the Nigerian Electricity Market Stabilisation Facility.

Meanwhile, the investigation has exposed an illegal theft of $6.23million from the CBN vault by two persons who used a forged presidential letter.

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