CCTV Footages Show Emefiele Removed $6.23 Million Cash From CBN Vault, Used Cronies To Acquire Banks

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The special investigator on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Jim Obaze, has made another damning revelation of the massive corruption that allegedly took place under Godwin Emefiele’s leadership.

In the final report of his panel which was submitted to President Bola Tinubu, Emefiele and CBN’s management team alleged that they made a strange payment of $6.23 million from the vault of the apex bank in one day last February.

It was gathered that Emefiele, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), and 12 top officials of the bank may face trial in connection with the payment of $6.23 million.

Those recommended for trial include directors, Deputy Directors, Assistant Directors, and Branch Controllers of the CBN.

Two suspects have been arrested in connection with what was described by the Special Investigator as “forgery, concealment, conspiracy, and fraud”.

According to the document, the alleged withdrawal, which was captured on CCTV, was committed at the Abuja branch of the CBN.

The document states that: “Around the date, 7th February and 8th February, 2023, the sum of  US$6.23 million was unlawfully removed from the vault cash from the Foreign Payments Office, Abuja Branch, of the Central Bank of Nigeria. The physical acts of the unlawful removal of this amount were captured on the CCTV footage which was viewed and preserved.

“Findings show that:  A letter dated 23rd January 2023, with a signature mark, ‘Muhammadu Buhari’, was sent to a government official with the caption, ‘ Presidential Directive on Foreign Election Observer Missions

“The letter referred to in (i), above, trail another letter dated 26th January 2023, with signature mark, directed to’ Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria’, for payment of the sum of $6.23million as ‘ a contingent logistics advance… in line with Presidential directive.

“A follow-up letter dated 31st January 2023, was sent to the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, requesting for approval to effect payment of the sum of $6.23m.

“The letter referred to in {iii), above, contained a signature mark and approval notation of the Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, and conveying consent to pay the sum of US$6.23m.

“The letter referred to in (iv)  above trailed a letter dated 7th February, 2023  sent to Abuja Branch, furthering process for the payment in cash of the sum of $6.23m to persons yet to be identified.”

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The document said an official took steps, procured the dollar cash, and released same to persons yet to be fully identified.

It said another official of the CBN has admitted in a written statement that he “acted in collaboration with, an Assistant Director in the Banking Supervision Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria and some persons he is yet to identify, to conceive and carry out the act of stealing the sum of $6.23 million out of the vault of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The document states that: “A fraudulent cash withdrawal of $ 6.23 million perpetrated since February 8, 2023, was not discovered nor taken seriously till the 4th of December, when a Request for Information was issued by the Office of the Special Investigator.

“There is therefore an appearance of concealment by officers who occupied some positions up to, and around the period 7 and 8th February, 2023.”

Obaze further detailed how a second-generation bank was acquired in 2019 allegedly by Emefiele and a late businessman in circumstances deemed opaque.

The private investigator further disclosed that the bank was acquired by the two individuals without evidence of payment

He rated Emefiele as a “mysterious shareholder” who gave interest–free,  long-term loans (with no fixed repayment schedule) to the entities that acquired the old-generation bank.

According to Obaze, the two entities that acquired the bank do not have a physical presence in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates where they claim to be domiciled.

On the acquisition of the old generation bank, Obaze said he discovered that some persons were used as proxies by Emefiele to set up the main entity that acquired the bank.

He said his team has completed its investigation on the acquisition and has also held meetings with the relevant parties except an expatriate said to be hospitalized in Switzerland.

The investigator gave the storyline of the acquisition to support his findings.

He said the entity first sought the CBN’s no-objection to its proposed consolidation with the old generation bank, excluding its UK operations via a letter dated October 25, 2021.

The entity stated that the consolidation was being contemplated in four phases; the acquisition of 91.5% of the issued shares of the bank, Mandatory Tender Offer (MTO) for the remaining shares of the bank, buy out of shares that are not voluntarily sold to it( entity)  on the MTO; and merger with the bank,  with the bank now the surviving entity.

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