…Says Buhari Did Not Approve Naira Redesign Policy
The immediate past Central Bank of Nigeria, Governor, Godwin Emefiele, illegally lodged billions of naira in about 593 bank accounts in the United States, United Kingdom, and China.
President Bola Tinubu’s Special Investigator, Jim Obaze, disclosed that Emefiele opened the bank accounts without the approval of CBN’s Board of Directors and Investment Committee.
The former CBN governor is currently in Kuje prison after he was arraigned by the Nigerian government for alleged N1.2bn procurement fraud.
The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, had granted him bail in the sum of N300m but he had failed to perfect it.
Obaze disclosed that Emefiele deposited £543, 482,213 in fixed deposits in UK banks alone without authorisation.
“All the accounts where the billions were lodged have all been traced by the investigator.”
The investigator also found that Buhari did not approve of the naira redesign, adding that 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.
The special investigator found that N61.5bn was earmarked for the printing of the new notes out of which N31.79bn had been paid.
As of August 9, 2023, findings revealed that N769bn of the new notes were in circulation.
The probe of the CBN also revealed the fraudulent use of N26.627tn Ways and Means of the Apex Bank as well as the misuse of the COVID-19 intervention fund.
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 N124.860bn, 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 N250bn only to the Federal Government of Nigeria to address challenges as a result of low revenue inflow and the payment of salaries.
The CBN under Emefiele was also said to have spent N1.7bn on questionable legal fees for 19 cases instituted against the naira redesign policy.
The investigator also discovered 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.”
About N1.325bn was stolen pre-incorporation and the money funnelled to four companies, including a legal firm which got N300mn.’’
Between 2015 and 2021, an investment company was said to have collected unlawfully a total of N4.89bn.
A breakdown indicated that the firm received N262m in 2015, N464m in 2016, N550m in 2017, N726m in 2018, N762m in 2019, N684m in 2020 and N1.44bn in 2021, totalling N4.89bn.