The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Thursday stormed the headquarters of Dangote Industries Limited in Ikoyi, Lagos, in furtherance of the ongoing investigation into the alleged abuse of the foreign exchange allocations by the immediate past Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele.
The anti-graft commission is probing the alleged preferential allocations of forex to the Dangote Group owned by billionaire Aliko Dangote and 51 other companies under the Emefiele-led CBN.
Two senior officials of the EFCC confirmed the presence of the anti-graft operatives at the Dangote but declined to speak on the reason for their presence.
One of the officials said, “I can confirm that our men are there, but I can’t comment on the reason for their presence there.”
Sources said the anti-graft commission had earlier written to the 52 companies directing them to provide documents supporting the allocation and utilisation of foreign exchange sold to them at official rates in the last 10 years.
The EFCC had asked the firms to submit Form A and Form M which detailed the forex allocations to them between 2014 and June 2023.
But while some companies complied with the directive, several others were said to have asked for time to get the proper documents.
Until June 2023, Nigeria operated multiple exchange rates which economists said contributed to the distortions in forex allocation, market volatility, and fluctuations.
The policy was blamed for the inflationary pressures on the naira and the thriving black market activities which were said to have undermined the effectiveness of the CBN monetary policies.
The surprise operation at the Dangote headquarters which was carried out by the EFCC detectives during working hours shocked the staff and jolted the visitors to the building.
According to the report gathered by Shegzeblog, the search commenced at about 3pm and lasted for several hours.
During the raid, the operatives ransacked offices and carted away several financial documents related to forex allocations to the group from 2014 to June 2023, when Emefiele was suspended from office by President Bola Tinubu.
This newspaper had reported that the Special Investigator on the CBN and Related Entities, Jim Obazee, uncovered how Emefiele allegedly lodged public funds in foreign currencies in no fewer than 593 bank accounts in the United States, United Kingdom, and China without the approval of the apex bank’s board of directors and the CBN Investment Committee.
Obazee found that the ex-CBN governor allegedly lodged £543, 482,213 in fixed deposits in UK banks without authorisation, adding that he allegedly manipulated the naira exchange rate and committed fraud in the e-Naira project.
The investigator in a report submitted to the President on December 20, 2023, recommended that Emefiele, who is being prosecuted for alleged N1.2bn procurement fraud, should face fresh charges over the handling of the CBN naira redesign policy and alleged illegal issuance of currency under section 19 of the CBN Act.
He also recommended that the ex-CBN governor should be prosecuted alongside Tunde Sabiu, a former aide and nephew to former President Muhammadu Buhari, and 12 top directors of the CBN.
Emefiele denied the indictments, describing the content of Obazee’s investigation report as “false, misleading, and calculated to disparage my person, injure my character, and serve the selfish interest of the private investigator.”