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Emefiele, deputies shunned Buhari, approved pay rise – Investigator

Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, and his ex-deputies approved for themselves an upward review of their salaries without presidential approval.

The CBN Special Investigator, Jim Obazee, who disclosed this in his report to President Bola Tinubu, said the former CBN governor and his deputies decided at the 758th meeting of the Committee of Governors held on September 14, 2022.

The investigation report asserted that the review was not approved by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, the agency that oversees the disbursement of funds from the Federal Account.

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.

The PUNCH had on Friday reported that  Emefiele, allegedly lodged public funds in no fewer than 593 bank accounts in the United States, United Kingdom, and China without the approval of the apex bank’s board of directors 

and the CBN Investment Committee.

There are fears that the findings of the special investigator may further compound the woes of the ex-CBN governor who is being prosecuted for N1.2 billion procurement fraud

Obazee in his report recommended that Emefiele and the Deputy CBN governors and directors should be charged for various criminal offences.

The report read in part, “The then CBN governor and his Committee of Governors held their 758th meeting on September 14, 2022, and approved for themselves upward review of salaries (referred to as annual pay parity in US dollars), sitting allowances, air tickets, and incidental expenses of the board and Monetary Policy Committee members.

“This was carried out without the approval of the President nor in consultation with the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission. The Secretary to the Board of the CBN kept mute over this development and the board members looked the other way.’’

The report further highlighted how the apex financial institution allegedly printed money and converted it to its use, stressing that there was no legal provision for the action.

It stated that the financial statements of the bank did not tally with its numerous financial interventions, suggesting that the CBN under Emefiele operated secret reserves whose location was only known to it and not disclosed in its financial statements.

Shedding light on the allegation, the report said, ‘’For instance, the huge liquidity intervention in the banking sector by the CBN from 2014 to date was not derived from the operational income stream of the CBN.

“On request, the CBN officials could not show the source of this fund. It is observed that the CBN determines the financial reporting standards; it ended up mixing up cash basis with cash accruals in its accounting system.

“The bank’s statement of account cash flow in the audited financial statements fails to show the source and application of the huge banking sector intervention and other 43 intervention programmes in several trillions of naira from 2014.

The overflow of this in subsequent years is indicative since the opening balance of one year is logically the ending balance of the preceding year. In situations like this, the only explanation is that money was printed by the CBN and same was converted to its own use.’’

Calls to the line of the counsel for Emefiele, Matthew Burkaa, SAN indicated that it was not reachable.

However, he has yet to respond to a text message sent to him as of the time of filing this report.

Meanwhile, a former deputy governor of the CBN, Kingsley Moghalu, has accused Emefiele of being the worst governor the apex bank has ever produced in the history of the country.

Moghalu said this in a lengthy post on the X platform via his verified handle on Saturday.

He cited Emefiele’s incompetence, performance regarding the stability of the naira exchange rate and inflation, the brazen provision of Ways and Means lending to the government, including his attempt to run for president, and the “incompetent” manner in which the naira redesign policy was handled.

He wrote, “The foregoing notwithstanding, my views on Emefiele’s performance as CBN Governor have been a matter of record even when many now opining on the matter of his performance on the job were mute.

“He is, without debate, the worst and most damaging Central Bank Governor in Nigeria’s history- incompetent and ill-prepared for the role, and from all available information from his actions, doubtlessly severely challenged with integrity.’’

“Four things make this clear; his performance regarding the stability of the naira exchange rate, as well as inflation; the brazen illegal provisions of Ways & Means lending to @NigeriaGov; Emefiele’s illegal attempt to run for President, in clear contravention of section 9 of the CBN Act of 2007, which precludes the Governor and Deputy Governors from engaging in activities outside their functions; and the incompetent manner in which the Naira Redesign Policy was handled, and its consequent negative, indeed disastrous impact on Nigeria’s economy,” he noted.

While describing the central bank of any country as a very sensitive institution, he said confidence (or the lack of it) in the institution has practical consequences for Nigeria’s economy.

He stressed that corruption has robbed Nigeria of its destiny and impoverished the citizens while enriching “at insane levels” a select few.

“Combating it has to be a holistic affair, not just politically convenient media trials,” he added.

Moghalu argued that Nigeria’s political leadership culture and governance needed a complete overhaul, adding, “The current approach to the matter to Emefiele, who undoubtedly deserves his trial, is not quite the optimal path when placed under close scrutiny.”

SourcePUNCH

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