February 21, 2024

A former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has described the report of the Special Investigator appointed by President Bola Tinubu, which indicted him, as satanic, baseless, defamatory and false.

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

One of his lawyers, Maxwell Okpara, who released the statement, confirmed that it was issued by the embattled former CBN governor.

The Special Investigator, Jim Obazee, in the documents obtained by journalists, had, among other allegations, accused Emefiele, of opening 593 foreign bank accounts without the approval of either President Muhammadu Buhari or CBN’s board of directors.

The investigator, in the report which was said to have been submitted to Tinubu last Wednesday, had said the accounts were in different banks in the United Kingdom, the United States, and China, especially £543, 482,213 in fixed deposits in UK banks alone.

The investigator, according to the documents, had also claimed that the recent naira redesign was not expressly approved by former President Muhammadu Buhari.

The report alleged that Buhari’s aide, Sabiu Tunde Yusuf, came up with the idea.

 “Emefiele took the redesign, a mere change of colour to De La Rue in UK for a fee of £205,000; and only N1,000, N500, and N200 were ‘redesigned,” the document said.

It added that, “As of August 2023, N769 billion of the new notes were in circulation. The printing cost was N61.5 billion, out of which N31.79 billion has been paid,” the investigator had reportedly claimed.

But reacting yesterday, Emefiele stated that his attention was drawn to the publications after he was released on Friday from the Kuje Correctional Centre where he had been detained for 34 days over alleged N1.5bn procurement fraud. 

The erstwhile CBN governor said he handed over Buhari’s approval to Obazee during the process of his investigation in the presence of senior CBN officials and his (investigator’s) team.

Emefiele, who stated that he had gone through the publications, said the contents therein were false, misleading and calculated to disparage his person, injure his 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 address some of the issues raised in the publication which are barefaced lies told by the investigator in order to achieve his satanic agenda,” Emefiele said. 

“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 authorized 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 the 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,” stated Emefiele.

Daily Trust

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