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‘Misleading, barefaced lies’ — Emefiele rejects probe panel report

 

Godwin Emefiele, former governor of the Central Bank of
Nigeria (CBN), has denied accusations of corruption and theft in a recent
report by the special investigation panel on CBN and other entities, led by Jim
Obazee, a private investigator.

 

The report, which was recently submitted to President Bola
Tinubu, comes after nearly six months of a probe on the activities of the CBN
under Emefiele.

 

The document details serious acts of corruption and theft in
the CBN, allegedly perpetrated by senior officials of the bank, including
Emefiele who regained freedom on Saturday after spending a month in the Kuje
correctional facility for procurement fraud.

 

The report alleged, among other things, that Emefiele
approved the naira redesign policy without presidential approval and withdrew
$6.23 million from the CBN vault.

 

Speaking on the allegations in a statement on Sunday,
Emefiele refuted the claims, describing the panel’s findings as “false,
misleading, and calculated to disparage” his character.

 

He said the presidential approval for the naira redesign
existed and was provided to Obazee during his investigation.

 

The ex-CBN governor challenged Obazee to publish the alleged
forged presidential directive and his statements denying knowledge of it.

 

 “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 serve the selfish interest of the private investigator,”
Emefiele said.

 

“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.

 

“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 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 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 a 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.”

 

‘NO INVOLVEMENT IN
OPENING ACCOUNTS’

Reacting to claims of illegally depositing billions of naira
in 593 offshore bank accounts, the regulator’s ex-governor said he has “no
knowledge” of such accounts.

 

“The final issue that I would 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,” he said.

 

“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.”

 

Emefiele, therefore, called for a “thorough and transparent
investigation of all alleged frauds”.

 

He also announced his intention to commence legal action to
clear his name “from the defamatory statements contained in the report and by
extension the publications”.

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