President’s Team Scrambles to Claw Back Looted Monies
By Luka Binniyat
[Abuja] – President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Nigeria has reshuffled the leadership deck of Nigeria’s top bank in a desperate bid to stanch what some observers say is “mind-boggling” embezzlement of public funds.
On Sept. 15 President Tinubu has fired the acting governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Folashodun Adebisi Shonubi, who took over from erstwhile CBN governor, Godwin Emefile, himself suspended from office on June 9, 2023.
Shonubi who was Director of Operations of the CBN and Emefile are said to have their hands mired in monetary scandal amounting to multi-trillion Naira illicit transactions (one US dollar currently trades at 750 Naira) .
The Naira redesign scheme which was deployed just prior to national elections early in 2023 was actually the brainchild of Shonubi, according to Persecondnews. “ The currency redesign, however, resulted in the scarcity of Naira which also left many people dead in violent protests that trailed the policy.”
The termination of Shonubi’s job also came with the nomination of a new CBN Governor, Olayemi Micheal Cardoso, and four CBN Deputy Governors who will form the new management of Nigeria’s top bank.
“Olayemi Micheal Cardoso is a Nigerian banker, chartered stockbroker and public policy maker who serves as the Acting Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“He served as the former chairman of Citibank Nigeria and was the Commissioner for Lagos State Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget.”
Tinubu approved the nomination of four new Deputy Governors of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), pending their confirmation by the Nigerian Senate: Mrs. Emem Nnana Usoro, Mr. Muhammad Sani Abdullahi Dattijo, Mr. Philip Ikeazor and Dr. Bala M. Bello,” the statement affirms.
The new appointments were contained in a press statement signed Sept. 15 by Ajuri Ngelale, special adviser to President Tinubu on media and publicity.
“In line with President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope agenda, the President expects the above listed nominees to successfully implement critical reforms at the Central Bank of Nigeria, which will enhance the confidence of Nigerians and international partners in the restructuring of the Nigerian economy toward sustainable growth and prosperity for all,” the statement reads in conclusion.
Allegations of mind-boggling corruption.
On July 28, 2023, President Ahmed Bola Tinubu appointed Jim Obazee, as ‘Special Investigator’ charged with probing the financial health of the CBN and sundry agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria. Obazee is the Chief Investigating Officer, Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria. https://punchng.com/tinubu-appoints-special-investigator-to-probe-cbn/
Obazee has launched into his assignment and has made some mind boggling discoveries running into trillions of Naira with Emefile and Shonubi allegedly implicated, according to media reports.
Per Second News (PSN) has reported that the panel probing the CBN, and other Government Business Entities (GBEs) has traced about N8 trillion ($10.67 billion) of the funds looted from the vaults of the apex bank and the GBEs to various bank accounts operated by individuals and private business organizations.
The online news site added that recovery of the located N8trillion was however, expected to commence “any moment from now.”
“Obazee reportedly is waiting for President Bola Tinubu to return from his foreign trips before submitting the report and then obtain the presidential approval to deposit the funds to be recovered into the Federation’s consolidated account or the recovery account as he is expected to get the President’s approval to open the account for depositing the money,” PSN alleged.
“Tinubu is, however, expected to officially announce the N 8 trillion as the first recovery made by the Obazee-led team of investigators, while subsequent recoveries will be announced fortnightly or monthly.
“About N 400 trillion ($533.33 billion) looted from the CBN and GBEs is expected to be recovered by the Obazee-led team of investigators.
“Obazee, it was learned, has therefore, recommended in his preliminary report to be submitted to Tinubu, the immediate withdrawal of the seven-year CBN audited annual financial reports released in September, following the discovery of some discrepancies and irregularities in the financial accounts.
“CBN had in August released its financial reports for years 2016 to 2022 amid the ongoing probe of the apex bank by Tinubu’s Special Investigator, but the audit reports are said to have been found out by the Special Investigator to contain inaccurate and false data,” said PSN.
A coalition of 259 anti-corruption, civil society and human rights groups, Coalition for Transparency and Economic Reforms (COTER) has urged President Tinubu to act on the preliminary report to be submitted to him by the special investigator, PSN added.
“COTER also advised Tinubu to immediately suspend the acting CBN governor following his indictment in the ongoing probe of the apex bank by the Special Investigator and his team.
“It added that there should be immediate recovery of all the stolen monies, confiscation of assets acquired with ill-gotten wealth and commencement of the prosecution of all those involved.”
“Replacement of the acting CBN Governor is a positive development after his shambolic attempt to blame diaspora remittances for self-inflicted disastrous devaluation of the naira,” said Emmanuel Ogebe, an attorney with the U.S. Nigeria Law Group in a text to TruthNigeria.
“CBN’s hiding of over $7 billion in negative transactions and the stoppage of the Naira-for-dollars incentive scheme impacted Diaspora remittance inflows.
“Having only met Mr. Cardozo once, I was impressed that he left commissionership in Lagos to study at Harvard – a rarity for Nigerians to elevate knowledge over power and lucre. Hopefully he’ll fix the shambles,” wrote Ogebe.
Luka Binniyat is an independent reporter based in Kaduna who writes on conflict, persecution of Christians and politics for TruthNigeria.