Legal Nigeria

Citizen Emefiele and the open can of worms

The speedy descent of the former czar of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele from the Olympian heights into the abyss of infamy, probably still looks like a dream to many people.

With the recent can of worms of opened for Emefiele by President Bola Tinubu’s appointed Special Investigator, Jim Obazee, it seems no Nigerian alive deserves the mournful line, “how are the mighty fallen” than the former ‘almighty” Governor of the Nigerian apex bank.

The 17 allegations made by Obazee in his report to the President, are weighty, and some of them border on serious acts of criminality. The allegations are summarised below:

1: Unauthorised bank accounts located in the UK, US, and China.

2. Fraudulent cash withdrawal of $6.23 million from the CBN vault under a purported presidential approval to pay foreign election observers.

3. Gross financial misconduct by Emefiele and at least 13 other individuals, including his Deputy Governors.

4. £543.4 million held in fixed deposits by Mr. Emefiele.

5. Manipulation of the Naira exchange rate and perpetration of fraud in the CBN’s e-Naira project.

6. The unauthorised Naira Redesign without Board or presidential approval.

7. The printing of new N200, N500, N1,000 notes costing N61.5 billion, with N31.8 billion paid to the Contractor.

8. Expenditure of N1.73 billion on questionable legal fees related to the Naira Redesign.

9. Payment of £205,000 to a UK Firm for the Naira Redesign effort.

10. Fraudulent use of Ways & Means totaling N26.627 trillion.

11. Fraudulent intervention programs.

12. Fraudulent expenditures related to COVID-19.

13. Misrepresentation of presidential approval on the NESI Stabilization Strategy Ltd.

14. Padding of former President Buhari’s approval by N198.96 billion.

15. Unapproved N500 billion taken and debited to Ways & Means without former presidential approvals.

16. Emefiele and 4 Deputies’ alleged connivance to misappropriate funds.

17. No approval for the breakdown of N22.72 trillion presented to the 9th National Assembly to illegitimately securitize the “Ways & Means” financing.

Well, no one is guilty until their culpability is proved in the law court. And Emefiele has also refuted the allegations in a statement. Hopefully, we shall see if the embattled former superintendent of the nation’s monetary policy is a reckless law breaker or a victim of witch-hunt and persecution by the offended and malevolent political gods.

Whatever becomes Emefiele’s fate, the man had his current ordeal coming. He particularly made himself unpopular with Nigerians last year with his most callous implementation of the Naira redesign policy (some incurable cynics would call it ‘Naira re-colouring’ or ‘Naira re-painting’). Emefiele made Nigerians pass through the fiery furnace of hell with the ill-advised manner the policy was implemented.

The new notes were scarce. The old, 200, 500 and 1,000 notes became useless in people’s hands. Small businesses closed down for the hardship the CBN under Emefiele meted to them. Sane adults went bananas when they could not access their money from the banks. Yet, the all-knowing Emefiele thought all was well with the policy which was believed by some to be targeted at certain politicians who were in reality unaffected by it.

The fact is, most Nigerians did not shed tears for Emefiele, when the DSS arrested him and accused him of illegally possessing firearms. They had no rivulets of tears cascading down their eyes when the EFCC accused him in court of breaching the Procurement Act. And now, they still have no sympathy for the man.

I hold that the the ordeal that Citizen Emefiele faces now should be a lesson to anyone holding a public position in Nigeria. Power is transient. People in position should not become inebriated with power. So many times, in Africa, and elsewhere, we have seen abusers of power and position come to an ignominious end. But do Nigerian power holders ever learn?

Do they?

Source; PM