Emiefele: More Heads May Roll As Investigators Probe CBN, NIRSAL

The special investigator appointed by President Bola Tinubu and his support team are set to probe officials involved in alleged sharp practices at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and related entities

President Tinubu after suspending the Governor of the apex bank, Godwin Emefiele appointed Jim Obazee as a Special Investigator to probe the activities of the CBN and other related entities.

The President in a letter dated July 28, said the appointment of Obazee, relying on the fundamental objective outlined in Section 15(5) of the Nigerian Constitution, was in furtherance of his administration’s anti-corruption fight.

The acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kayode Egbetokun on September 6 deployed a four-man team of senior officers to support the special investigator to probe the activities of the apex bank and related entities.

The deployment was in response to a letter by Obazee dated August 18 requesting the IGP to deploy senior officers to his office to facilitate the smooth take-off and execution of his assignment.

In response, the IGP in a letter titled, ‘Deployment of Police Personnel’ with reference number TH:5361/FS/FHQ/ABJ/T.5/428, listed the deployed officers as DCP Eloho Edwin Okpoziakpo; CSP Celestine Odo; CSP Segun Aderoju and DSP Tijani A. Bako.

It was gathered that preliminary findings based on developed intelligence by the investigating team led by DCP Eloho are already causing sleepless nights to the top management at the CBN and NIRSAL.

A source who spoke with Daily Trust revealed that the investigators would be digging into the alleged allocation of about N600,000 monthly for the upkeep of the former MD’s dogs.

It was gathered that some close aides of the embattled ex-CBN governor and officials of other affected entities are jittery as the crack team is set to start quizzing them over some contracts at NIRSAL, as well as the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme soon.

Among the contracts is that for the design, development, and hosting of the Jigawa State unemployed graduate database for NIRSAL which was first awarded to a company, Syspec Network Limited of No.20 Jalingo Shopping Complex, Jalingo, Taraba State.

The contract award letter dated May 23, 2016, with Reference Number: MD/PROC/013 was signed by the ousted Managing Director of NIRSAL, Aliyu Abdulhameed. It was said to have been re-awarded several times as a conduit.

The source stated, “The investigators are also set to unravel how the Anchor Borrowers funds were being kept as fixed deposits by parties close to the embattled CBN governor. This scheme was to allow parties involved to scoop the interest generated by the deposits.

“This development led to a significant delay in the delivery of fertilizers and other inputs to farmers, and by the time the inputs were eventually supplied, the planting season would have been over even as they (farmers) were expected to pay for the unsupplied inputs.”

The Anchor Borrowers’ Programme guidelines stipulate that upon harvest, benefiting farmers are to repay their loans with produce (which must cover the loan principal and interest) to an anchor, who pays the cash equivalent to the farmer’s account.

Another source revealed that among those involved in the fixed deposits racket is an aide of the ex-CBN governor (names withheld) who is said to have operated a total of 61 bank accounts that included 44 fixed deposit accounts and 2 treasury bills accounts.

Destruction Of Files, And Records At NIRSAL

According to Daily Trust, there are attempts by some of the officials targeted for investigation at CBN and NIRSAL to scuttle the process.

This is said to have led to the alleged destruction of office files, contract documents and related records.

Sources familiar with the investigation said among the destroyed office documents is a contract for the development of NIRSAL’s ICT Policy.

An insider who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “Although financial trails show payments made multiple times for the same contract, the record of this contract has disappeared from NIRSAL’s procurement department.”

Another source said that unless the investigation team deploys ways and means of obtaining the necessary contract records and documents, it may have hitches getting to the root of the matter.

The Head of Procurement at NIRSAL, Sheriff Salaudeen, speaking on the allegation, however, said the organisation does not destroy its files or other records.

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