Total loans in Nigeria's banking sector hits N15.35 trillion
CBN's governor, Godwin Emefiele

Just last week, the Nigerian President, Mohammadu Buhari, wrote the Nigerian Senate asking for the reappointment of the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele. By the way, congratulations to the entire CBN team for the reappointment of their Chief.

The reappointment of Mr Emefiele means that the Presidency must have been overwhelmingly satisfied with the progress recorded under Emefiele’s watch. As the popular saying goes, “one good turn, deserves another”.

However, while the CBN was still under the euphoria of the reappointment, the excitement was almost brought to an abrupt end with the purported exposure of a N500bn CBN fraud, as contained in an audio clip released by Sahara Reporters. The controversy involved some people at the top echelon of CBN, including the Governor himself. Nairametrics had earlier reported the backstory of the alleged fraud and CBN’s denial.

Some highlights from the Audio Clip: Basically, the leaked audio clip contained conversations between the CBN Governor, Gowin Emefiele; Deputy Governor, Edward Lametek Adamu; Director of Finance, Dayo M. Arowosegbe, and Special Adviser to the CBN Governor, Emmanuel Ukeje.

“So, can we think of anywhere across both ends where we can , you know, push things or either move things from CAD or other places, bring it back, you understand? Or delay, anything!” Mr Emefiele:

  • Director of Finance, Dayo Arowosegbe promised to negotiate N20bn on TIA because that has not been remitted even though it had already approved.
  • Dayo Arowosegbe also stressed that his personal expenses increased by 1 billion in just one year
  • The CBN DG, Edward Lametek, admitted to packing some bonus and thinking of available options
  • The CBN DG also recommended that the finance ministry be made to take some things off their book
  • Mr Emefiele rejected the involvement of finance ministry, due to fear of being exposed
  • N20bn was mentioned as already sorted, and N115bn, supposedly moved from negative to positive of the balance sheet

Connecting some dots amidst CBN’s denial: After the release of the seemingly controversial clip on Sunday, the CBN denied it through a press release which described the audio as only portraying a selective part of the conversation. Some highlights of CBN‘s denial:

  • The recording is TRUE, but it was a selective conversation according to CBN. The reason for such statement was to inform Nigerians that whatever was released is not complete audio of the conversation between the top CBN echelons.
  • The CBN emphasized N650bn loans to 35 states and stated N150bn was classified as bad loans
  • CBN eventually reached the Ministry of Finance which Mr Emefiele outrightly rejected in the audio clip, and with the auditors corrected and reversed the negative entry.
  • CBN implored Nigerians to disregard the report and continue to trust the bank.

As expected, the CBN reacted by indicating the audio clip was true and stood on the defense of its Chief. However, the CBN‘s explanation of the leaked being a “selective clip” implies there is the full audio clip of the conversation somewhere or with the CBN, and therefore must be made subject to deep forensic investigation.

Similarly, according to the CBN press release, there are three entities involved in the Balance Sheet discrepancies which include the CBN, the Ministry of Finance, and the auditors. CBN had denied the claims which still remain an allegation, but, these three entities should be subject to investigation in order to drive the allegations to a conclusive end.

Also, it is still mind-boggling to hear the Director of Finance, Dayo Arowosegbe, in the audio clip, claiming to have his personal expenses increased by 1billion  in just one year. Whatever context this is, it needs some investigations and further explanations. Nigerians deserve to know.

Optics –  One would wonder if this is a calculated attempt by some groups to stop the CBN Chief from being reappointed as Governor. Assuming this is truly a witch hunt, then earlier report by a section of the media today that Smugglers are behind the sudden allegations against the CBN chief is still to be confirmed. According to the report, there is a move from some groups to stop the CBN chief from being reappointed in order to ease operations of importing banned goods.

Deal book 300 x 250

“most  of those in the rice and textile businesses in particular, who have been having sleepless nights over the nationalistic nature of Emefiele are now mobilizing through various means to discredit him.

“Not stopping at that, they have resorted to either to use the courts to scuttle the confirmation process or other means like sponsoring protests, concoction of spurious messages  and hacking into official conversations.” -Sources

However, President Buhari may have summoned Emefiele on the allegation: There are indications that President Buhari may have summoned Mr Emefiele on the allegation levied against him and the CBN.

President Muhammadu Buhari and CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele at the Statehouse today

Pictures of Mr Emefiele on a courtesy visit to the Aso Rock to meet with the President has gone viral, and reports have indicated that the visit to the President may not be unconnected to the allegation against him.

While this is still an allegation, the Federal Government should not push this over, because a corrupt CBN is capable of grounding the economy to a halt.

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