The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has come out in stout defence of its Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, denying that tapes of a discussion he had with his deputy, Edward Lametek Adamu, and other officials had anything to do with plans to short-change the bank over a failed investment in Dubai.
The leaked tapes were published on saharareporters.com.
The CBN, in a statement on Sunday said, said the discussions had to do with correcting errors made by auditors who looked into the apex bank’s books in 2018.
However, a cursory listen to the leaked tapes appear not to have a nexus with auditors’ errors.
Since Emefiele’s nomination for another five years tenure by President Muhammadu Buhari, there has been opposition from different directions seeking to stop him.
Nigeria Everyday reported how a known whistle-blower, Dr. Godwin Uboh, issued a statement accusing Emefiele of alleged financial infractions.
The same man has since taken to the social media in his continued campaign to stop Emefiele. He posted on various platforms drawing attention to a case he instituted in a Federal High Court in Abuja seeking to stop the Governor.
The post reads:
Attached please find suit no FHC/ ABJ/CS/505/2019 in the matter of George Uboh Whistleblowers Network (GUWN) V. Godwin Emefiele, Senate et al filed today Friday, May 10, 2019 in which GUWN is asking the court to restrain the Senate from confirming Godwin Emefiele as CBN Governor ( 2nd tenure) until the court resolves GUWN V. Emefiele, case no. FHC/ABJ/CS/419/2019, in which GUWN alleges that $2.5 Billion USD disappeared under Emefiele’s watch, asking that Emefiele refund the $2.5 Billion USD, that Emefiele should be declared not fit to hold public office, inter alia..if the Senate can decline to confirm Magu based on a security report, a fortiori, the senate must decline to confirm Emefiele for far more egregious allegations. Pls rebroadcast if you are a patriot; if not thou shall remain in bondage of looters.
Dr. George Uboh
On the leaked tapes, CBN Director of Corporate Communications, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor insists in his statement that no money is missing at the apex bank.
His statement reads in full: “The Management of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been notified of a purported audio recording of selective conversations amongst the Governor, Deputy Governor and some Senior Officials. Contrary to the headline-grabbing narrative that the discussion was about a fraudulent transaction, this conversation – the beginnings of which was omitted to create a different impression – was simply to proffer solutions to a misunderstanding that affected the Bank’s balance sheet.
“As publicly known, the CBN was approached in 2015 by the National Economic Management Team and the National Economic Council (NEC), chaired by the Vice President, to assist State Governments with Conditional Budget Support, in the aftermath of the significant nose-dive in global oil prices and associated FAAC allocations. In order to ensure that ordinary Nigerian workers got their salaries, pensions and gratuities, and that the economy continued to recover from recession, the Bank provided about N650 billion in loans at 9% with a two-year grace period to 35 States of the Federation. These monies were distributed to the States monthly with documented approval of the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Presidency.
“In closing the Bank’s 2018 accounts, external auditors in their Draft Account,
erroneously classified about N150 billion of these loans as bad, which negatively
affected the Bank’s Balance Sheet and shareholders fund. The selective conversation being circulated was simply a discussion to ascertain why the auditors took that position and next steps to resolving it. Obviously, it soon became clear that a State Government loan cannot be classified as “bad” or “irrecoverable” when the State still exists and getting FAAC allocations. The Bank then reached out to the Federal Ministry of Finance and they jointly gave comfort to the auditors who accepted in writing that these monies would be repaid. On this basis, the auditors reversed the negative entry and the certified that the CBN’s 2018 accounts were a true reflection of the State of Affairs.
“Reconciliation of Balance Sheet items are regular conversations amongst Senior Management of many agencies and should not be misconstrued as anything but that. Had the online media which released the selective recordings sought the comments of CBN as required of journalism practice, we would have provided it.
“Clearly, those who listened to the audio can easily ascertain that the conversation
had nothing to do with anything fraudulent as purported. The Bank therefore urges all well-meaning Nigerians to disregard this audio and continue to trust that the Bank is doing everything it can to represent their interests in the best possible way.
“Under the leadership of Governor Emefiele, the CBN has always stood for, and vigorously pursued transparency in its stewardship of public resources and
policies. NO MONIES ARE MISSING OR STOLEN. The integrity of the CBN
Governor remains unassailable. He has no account in Dubai or anywhere in the
world and would never convert the funds of CBN for personal use. Not in the past,
not now and not ever. The use of selective wiretapped conversations of the Bank’s Management, to malign his character and integrity will never stand. The Bank will pursue every legal means to bring the perpetrators to justice.”
Find below a reproduction of the Sahara Reporters story:
Godwin Emefiele, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria and his Deputy Edward Lametek Adamu and the Director for Finance Dayo M. Arowosegbe including one of the Special Advisers to the CBN Governor, Emmanuel Ukeje have been caught on tape discussing how to cover up the loss of over N500billion stolen from the CBN in a private investment that went bust.
Two authentic telephone audio tapes exclusively obtained by SaharaReporters reveal how the governor and top officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria haggled over plots to conceal the loss of huge sums of monies in a Dubai investment according to sources at the bank.
Emefiele is heard saying in the audio to the deputy governor Adamu: “To avoid any serious problem is just, the government to have to agree to give us at least 100 billion cash but the government will not agree.They will kick against it”.
Expressing fear over what the opposition will say about the loss of the money which will slip Nigeria into hard times, the CBN governor can be heard in the audio saying: “How do I handle this? to which the deputy governor replied “we have to rack our brain and do something out because we can’t afford it at all, not at this time. Emefiele replies “the implication for the economy is, no no, no”.
“The opposition will say it should have depreciated in the project.
The tapes revealed how the top officials managing Nigeria’s central bank connived and conspired to cover up financial fraud which has affected the Nigerian economy.
Mr. Emefiele a former Managing Director of Zenith Bank of Nigeria was appointed by former President Goodluck Jonathan to head the CBN in June 2014.
Since assuming the governorship of the Central Bank taking over from now embattled Emor of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, it has been reported that the Central bank Governor has engaged in a series financial scams including foreign currency manipulation, money laundering and roundtripping to favor a group of politically exposed persons close to President Muhammadu Buhari.
He was the governor of the Central Bank when Nigeria slipped into the worse recession in 29 years.
Last week, Mr. Emefiele was renominated for a five-year tenure by President Buhari.
These audio clips show Emefiele discussing extensively with top officials of the bank to conceal the loss made with the shareholders’ funds from commercial banks, the monies were reportedly diverted to invest in Dubai to the tune of N500 Billion sometimes towards the end of 2018 and they reportedly lost that investment.
Emefiele repeatedly lamented the hopelessness of a way out of the problem: “I’ll have to think of a way out because we cannot afford it at all.
“The implications are just too many to even think about and damaging. We cannot allow this like this, we cannot” he said.
In the discussions captured on tape, top financial officers at the CBN blamed one Arowosegbe and at several points contemplated cooking up the books, discarding several ideas.
At some point in the conversation, they plotted to ask the federal government for the shortfall through the Ministry of Finance but decided against it to limit outside exposure.
As the conversation went on they didn’t know what to do to avoid a negative balance sheet for the shareholders’ fund entrusted to the apex bank.
SaharaReporters sources at the CBN say Mr. Emefiele and others in the bank eventually found a way out of their dilemma by diverting funds in possession of the CBN and also printing hard cold cash.