FCT Abuja – The investigation into the alleged fraudulent operations that took place during the nine years that Godwin Emefiele served as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the government of former President Muhammadu Buhari is still active, and new facts have begun to emerge as a result of the investigation. Jim Obazee, a forensic auditor and the former Chief Executive of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC), is reportedly in charge of leading the special investigations that are currently taken place.
As the team of special investigators established by Tinubu to look into the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and related entities race against time to uncover a slew of crimes estimated to be worth over N7 trillion, Nigerians may soon witness the disclosure of the largest financial fraud in the history of the country, according to an early report on TheNigerianNews.
The investigators are doing everything they can to unravel the web of frauds allegedly committed over the course of the last nine years, with a focus on the activities of the apex bank and linked organizations under the governor, Godwin Emefiele, who is currently on suspension.
Recall that in July, President Bola Tinubu designated Jim Obazee, a former Chief Executive of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC) and forensic auditor, as the “Special Investigator” of the CBN and associated companies. The President stated that Emefiele’s letter of suspension was annexed to the letter that Tinubu personally signed, notwithstanding the fact that the parameters of Obazee’s involvement were not made public.
The News reporters revealed exactly one month ago that the team had grown to include elite fraud investigators and auditors from Nigeria. Additionally, it was said that the team had ensnared executives from CBN consulting firms, who were detained and released on bail while key executives of the main banks were being questioned.
Following the publication of the report, the Department of State Security apprehended Kingsley Obiora and Aisha Ahmad, two CBN deputy governors, in connection with their involvement in the bank’s operations during Emefiele’s nine-year tenure.
The team is reportedly analyzing papers, notes, and oral confessions that could result in additional arrests in the coming days, according to recent updates from numerous sources with knowledge of the operations.
According to some reports that TheNigerian was unable to independently verify, some of Nigeria’s diplomatic missions abroad in the Gulf area participated in some of the “illegal activities” in an effort to desperately justify the financial crimes.
The level of involvement of international financial watchdogs in the investigation is not yet obvious, but there are signs that they may approach a number of overseas institutions as the investigation spreads quickly.
As some directors who “must have had active roles in sanctioning some of the agreements” are questioned, there are already growing concerns at regulator offices across the nation.
There are worries that some people will be detained in the upcoming weeks, but a trustworthy source claimed that the panel’s main goal was to wrap up the investigation and submit a report on “how the financial system was mismanaged and the regulations were compromised so that the President could decide what to do to clean up the system.”
Tinubu vowed a “housecleaning” at the monetary authority in his inaugural speech. Emefiele was suspended and arrested for various offenses a few weeks later. The President called the financial system Emefiele oversaw for nine years “rotten” during a diaspora town hall meeting.
However, given the panel’s findings, it is questionable whether the President has a near-perfect understanding of how corrupt the system is. The rot that Obazee and his colleagues are working around the clock to uncover is allegedly actively related to top bank owners and their associates who are functioning as chief executives.
Sources claim that the panel has promised to investigate every possibility in order to hold the offenders accountable. During his tenure at the FRC, Obazee earned a reputation as a direct and uncompromising regulator. He reportedly turned down bank CEOs who tried to buy his approval for financial statements that weren’t compliant by offering them bribes.
Unverified rumors said that he had turned down housing and other presents because he wanted to clean up the system. He earned the moniker “Super Regulator” in the banking industry for his unwavering stance on regulatory matters. The pressure of politicking hit him hard when he took action against general overseers of churches in an effort to uphold the FRC’s Code of Conduct for not-for-profit organizations, which resulted in his sudden dismissal from the organization.
The group he leads is already under comparable pressure from the Executive Branch, including the President. People who are “quite close to the President” are allegedly making clandestine and subtle measures to restrict or influence the panel’s work.
They “quickly realized that it transcends politics and that the team wants to act morally and in the best interests of the public. They therefore want to sway or restrict the investigations. But that is challenging because the task has already begun and everyone is aware of it, a source insisted, adding that the team is only responsible to the President and Nigerians.
According to information obtained, the investigation is already narrowing in on certain of the President’s commercial and political allies, which is why the decision to limit the inquiry was made.
The team was earlier apparently instructed by Tinubu, according to The Guardian, to get to the source of the problem regardless of who gets their ox gored. According to reports, the group will carry on with its work thanks to the President’s support.
There are concerns that the President may be compelled to give in to the demands of powerful politicians and businessmen, whose names have already been cited as potential offenders in the developing drama. But if prosecution is permitted to begin and succeed, it is said that Obazee has already accumulated enough shady dossiers to put many in jail.
Disbursements made by the CBN through its various intervention programs and foreign exchange management, according to several sources, are at the heart of the inquiry.
The investigation team claims to have found over N7 trillion worth of frauds connected to the CBN chief who is currently under fire. Also reportedly questioned about their roles in several of the transactions were a number of bank presidents.
“Although there may be much more money involved, so far, at least N7 trillion has been found. It is a continuous endeavor. Daily, new information about the bizarre crimes perpetrated by people in charge of running the country’s economy is coming to light, according to TheNigerian.
A source familiar with the enormous pressure the investigators have been under stated yesterday in a conversation with our correspondent that those directly engaged in the case are “ready to buy anybody” given their determination to escape responsibility.
It was also made aware of incidents involving the destruction of evidence both inside and outside of the CBN buildings, beginning with Emefiele’s detention. According to reports, this has slowed down certain ongoing investigations and attempts to determine precisely how some of the frauds were committed.
As the spotlight shines on “conspirators,” concern over the scope of the investigation is quickly spreading throughout the financial sector. The full list of people working with Obazee is still unavailable to TheNigerian. The majority of the well-known people have impressive backgrounds in banking, international finance, forensic auditing, and fraud detection. Some had previously performed other tasks, such as consulting, for the CBN.
“In the upcoming weeks, people’s heads will roll everywhere. One one could not have been responsible for the kind of systemic corruption that was evident. If that’s the case, none of his collaborators could have been angels. The Guardian reported on August 4, 2023, quoting a source, “I don’t know the scope of the sanctions that will follow, but I can assure you that a lot of people will not go unpunished.
The same source emphasized Wednesday that Nigerians could only envision the extent of the system’s rot in light of the detention and interrogation of Obiora and Ahmad in the weeks since the investigation started.
Since accepting the task, Obazee allegedly kept a safe distance from even his longtime buddies. He had a shield-like style that was distinctive of him, according to a close friend.
He is not answerable on the phone, despite our best efforts.