By Enyichukwu Enemanna
Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) operated no fewer than 593 bank accounts in the United States, United Kingdom, and China, where he lodged billions of Naira without approval of the bank’s board of directors, an investigator has alleged.
Godwin Emefiele, currently in Kuje Custodial Centre, in Nigeria’s capital Abuja, is being prosecuted for N1.2 billion procurement fraud.
The Special Investigator on the CBN and Related Entities, Jim Obazee, commissioned by President Bola Tinubu found that Emefiele lodged £543,482,213 in fixed deposits in UK banks alone without authorisation of the investment committee of the apex bank.
The final report of the investigation titled, ‘Report of the Special Investigation on CBN and Related Entities (Chargeable offences) was submitted to President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday.
“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,” the report read in part.
President Bola Tinubu had in a letter dated July 28, 2023 named a former Executive Secretary of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, Obazee, as the CBN special investigator.
Emefiele is yet to perfect the N300m bail granted him by a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory on November 22.
The former apex bank chief might 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.
It was gathered that the naira redesign policy was sold to Buhari at the instance of Sabiu and that the initiative was done without the approval of the board of the CBN.
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.