A fresh revelation from the investigative committee set up by President Bola Tinubu has revealed that former Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele stole N3 trillion from two projects alone.
Top sources privy to the findings made by the committee told SaharaReporters that the whopping amount was made from COVID loans and the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme Fund alone.
In July, Tinubu appointed a special investigator to probe the apex bank.
In a letter dated July 28, 2023, the president named the Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, Jim Obazee, as the special investigator.
The President asked Obazee to investigate CBN and key Government Business Entities. The committee only reports to the President.
The appointment of Obazee came over a month after Tinubu suspended Emefiele as the CBN governor.
Shortly after his suspension in June, Emefiele was arrested and taken into custody by Nigeria’s secret police, the Department of State Services (DSS).
Sources told SaharaReporters that Obazee’s investigative committee found out that Emefiele stole N3 trillion from the two projects, among other atrocities committed as the head of the apex bank.
“A fresh revelation from the committee set up by Tinubu to look into how Emefiele mismanaged the CBN shows that he practically stole N3 trillion from those two projects alone,” one of the sources said.
In addition, SaharaReporters also exclusively learnt that Obazee’s committee was pushing to have an interim report submitted to President Tinubu soon so that he would understand how grave and massive corruption at the CBN under Emefiele.
“Obazee’s committee is pushing to have an interim report submitted to Tinubu as a way of letting him understand the gravity of Emefiele’s financial crimes and how bad it set Nigeria’s finances back.
“The committee is asking that they should be allowed to submit an interim report so as to stop any attempt by Emefiele and the Attorney General of the Federation’s office to settle his case on the basis of N50 billion refund plea bargain as earlier exposed by SaharaReporters,” one of the sources said.
In his nationwide broadcast on Sunday morning as part of the programme of events to mark Nigeria’s 63rd Independence anniversary celebration, President Tinubu confirmed that findings on past lapses in the apex bank would soon be out.
In his address, Tinubu said, “I pledged a thorough housecleaning of the den of malfeasance the CBN had become. That housecleaning is well underway.”
“A new leadership for the Central Bank has been constituted. Also, my special investigator will soon present his findings on past lapses and how to prevent similar reoccurrences,” he added.
On Friday, SaharaReporters exclusively reported that Emefiele was set to be released from detention by the Department of State Services (DSS) after his plea bargain with President Tinubu’s administration had been concluded.
However, the AGF and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, on Sunday denied reaching any non-prosecution bargain with Emefiele.
Emefile and some of his associates were expected to be arraigned over N6.9 billion procurement fraud at the Federal Capital Territory High Court in August but the arraignment had stalled.
SaharaReporters had gathered that the non-prosecution plea bargain for Emefiele was being premised upon the former governor’s willingness to return N50 billion which he had corruptly amassed.
SaharaReporters learnt that Fagbemi had signed the non-prosecution plea bargain and it was waiting for Tinubu’s approval.
SaharaReporters in August reported that Emefiele faced 20 counts of conspiracy and procurement fraud levelled against him by the Nigerian government.
The Nigerian government through the DSS earlier filed two counts bordering on illegal possession of firearms and ammunition against Emefiele but that was later withdrawn.
SaharaReporters had exclusively reported how the DSS accused Emefiele of sabotaging the economy, financing terrorism and committing other economic crimes.
Top government sources shared with SaharaReporters how the investigation linked Emefiele to a well-known terror financier, whom the apex bank governor had sent funds for onward transfer to controversial Islamic cleric Sheikh Ahmad Gumi.
Gumi is known for hobnobbing with terrorists and bandits and advocating that amnesty should be granted to them.
In 2022, one of Gumi’s associates, Tukur Mamu, was arrested and detained by Interpol at Cairo International Airport in Egypt while awaiting a connecting flight to Saudi Arabia. Upon his return to Nigeria, he was arrested by the DSS over allegations that he was heading to Saudi Arabia to meet with some international terrorists.
Meanwhile, the secret police said their preliminary investigation revealed various acts of terrorism financing, fraudulent activities perpetrated by Emefiele and his involvement in economic crimes of national security dimension including mismanaging the CBN subsidiary, NISRAL, and the apex bank’s Anchor Borrowers Programme.
The secret police also accused Emefiele of “fraud, money laundering, round tripping and conferment of financial benefit to self and others.”