Ex-Central Bank Gov Emefiele to sue investigator, denies opening 593 foreign accounts

A former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has denied findings by the Special Investigator appointed by President Bola Tinubu in his report, which indicted him and described him as corrupt.

In a statement on Sunday, Emefiele said he had instructed his lawyers to immediately commence legal action to clear his name from the defamatory statements contained in the report.

The report indicated that the Board of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was not involved in the decision to redesign the new currency notes, adding that the initiative was suggested to former CBN Governor by then-President Muhammadu Buhari’s aide, Tunde Sabiu during his visit to the Presidential Villa in September 2022.

Worse still, Emefiele, according to the report left behind a debt of over N30 billion incurred for the printing of the currency as only N31.79 billion of the contract sum had been paid at the time of his leaving the office.

The report also said that he lodged £543,482,213 in fixed deposits in United Kingdom banks alone without authorisation.

The Special Investigator on the CBN and Related Entities, Jim Obazee in the report revealed that Emefiele also illegally lodged billions of naira in no fewer than 593 bank accounts in the United States, and China including the United Kingdom without the approval of the apex bank’s board of directors and the CBN Investment Committee.

But Emefiele denied the allegations in his response to the publication of the report through a statement titled ‘Re: Emefiele, Others Stole Billions, Illegally Kept Nigeria’s Funds In Foreign Banks.’

He said, “After my release on bail from the correctional centre, Kuje, my attention was drawn to publications released by the Punch Newspaper and Premium Times online news platforms.  The sources of the information published by both media houses were credited to a certain report prepared by a Mr. Jim Obazee, who was appointed by the President as a private investigator.

“I have gone through the publications, and I say boldly that the contents of the said publications are false, misleading and calculated to disparage my person, injure my character and to serve the selfish interest of the private investigator.

“Because of my present situation, I have been advised by my lawyers not to say anything in respect of the matters which have been submitted to the court for adjudication. However, I need to addressed some of the issues raised in the publication which are barefaced lies told by the investigator in order to achieve his satanic agenda.

“First, it was reported that, contrary to the provision of the CBN Act 2007, there was no presidential approval for the Naira redesign. I wish to state unequivocally that there was indeed a presidential approval, and the said approval was handed over to the same Jim Obazee during the process of his investigation in the presence of senior CBN officials and his own investigative team. Moreover, the former President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR has stated on a number of occasions that he authorised and approved the Naira redesign.  I am therefore at a loss as to why Mr. Jim Obazee will mislead Nigerians that there was no presidential approval.

“The report also claimed that the sum of 6.23 million dollars was withdrawn from the CBN vault based on a false presidential directive bearing the signature of the former president Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, and that of the former secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha.  About two weeks ago, Jim Obazee in company of a certain Deputy Commissioner of Police from Force CID came to Kuje to ask me questions in respect of the said document in the presence of my lawyers.

“I stated verbally and in writing that I have no knowledge of such directive from the former president and the former SGF.  In fact, I told them that that was the first time I would be seeing the documents. On this, I challenge Jim Obazee to publish the said documents and also the statements that I made to them.

“The final issue that I will like to respond to is the issue of the 593 accounts which were purportedly opened in different parts of the world. I state categorically that I am not involved in the opening of these accounts and I do not have knowledge of their openings. The fixed deposits in those foreign accounts are definitely outside my knowledge. However, let me state clearly, that the relevant departments of the CBN have the authority to carry out such activities in line with their lawful mandate within the CBN.

“I therefore join well-meaning Nigerians who have spoken on this matter and have demanded a thorough and transparent investigation of all these alleged frauds.  Meanwhile, I have instructed my lawyers to immediately commence legal process to clear my name from the defamatory statements contained in the report and by extension the publications.”

 

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