The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has significantly expanded its investigation into alleged fraudulent foreign exchange allocations during the tenure of the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele. Sources report that over 85 entities, including corporate organisations and individuals, have been implicated in this deepening probe.
Among the entities under scrutiny, the Dangote Group and BUA Plc are particularly notable, as revealed by EFCC operatives following their recent actions against these major corporations.
The EFCC’s investigation, independent of President Bola Tinubu’s appointed investigator Jim Obazee, is delving into alleged preferential forex allocations by Emefiele, which are suspected of violating existing financial regulations and the CBN Act.
According to a top EFCC source who spoke with Punch, this comprehensive probe goes beyond the initial scope, with potential amendments to the charges against Emefiele.
The investigation suggests that the former CBN governor may have facilitated these allocations for personal gain, involving money laundering through forex transactions and Bureau De Change operators.
The EFCC’s recent raids on Dangote Industries Limited in Ikoyi and BUA Towers in Victoria Island, Lagos, mark a significant escalation in the investigation.
While Dangote officials confirmed their cooperation with the EFCC, BUA has denied any raid on their offices.
These companies, along with the other entities involved, have been summoned to provide extensive financial documentation from 2014 to 2023.
The EFCC spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, has declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.
However, inside sources reveal that the commission is determined to uncover the full extent of the alleged forex fraud.
This includes potential charges of money laundering and abuse of office against Emefiele, alongside the existing allegations related to the naira redesign policy and illegal currency issuance.
The official claimed, “The EFCC is investigating over 85 entities, which include companies and individuals. The probe has extended beyond 52 entities, and I can confirm that the Dangote Group and BUA Plc are part of the 85 entities under probe over the preferential foreign exchange allocations made by the former CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, in defiance of extant financial rules and regulations and in disregard of the CBN Act.
“Some officials of those companies and individuals connected with the allocations have been invited by the commission for questioning, and all the affected entities have been asked to provide their financial documents from 2014 to 2023. We discovered that those allocations were not approved by former President Muhammadu Buhari, so it was more of a means for the former CBN governor and his cronies to launder money through forex transactions and Bureau De Change operators.
“But it should be noted that our investigation is comprehensive; it is deeper and encompassing, and absolutely independent of the CBN investigator, Obazee’s report. The charges against the former CBN governor will most likely be amended as there have been more discoveries from the forex probe.”
The EFCC source added, “The discoveries in the recent probe into forex transactions involving many individuals and organisations show that the former governor of the CBN will face amended charges soon. Lawyers of the commission are working on that, and as soon as that is done, Emefiele will answer to the charges.
“We have found out how he used his position to help friends and acquaintances, business associates, relations and others.
“The charges against him are plenty. It is a pity that such a highly-placed man used his office the way he did it.
“He is also going to face other charges like money laundering, abuse of office, even abuse of office may involve the declaration of assets.”
After the siege by EFCC operatives to Dangote and BUA’s offices on Thursday, the operatives went away with documents on the firms’ forex transactions.
The search by the anti-graft operatives in both offices commenced around 3 pm and lasted several hours.
According to Punch, the EFCC operatives carted away some documents during the search on Thursday, but the documents did not cover all the transactions, hence the decision to summon the officials of the firms to bring the documents to Abuja on Tuesday.
But a highly placed EFCC official said senior executives of the company had been mandated to supply the commission with what he called “detailed and unambiguous documents on the demands by the commission.”
It was gathered that the officials were being expected at the agency’s office on Tuesday.
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An EFCC official who spoke on condition of anonymity with the platform said, “Yes, they (Dangote officials) asked for time to enable them to get all the necessary documents, which was granted. The idea is not to be seen to be witch-hunting anyone. What the commission wants is to get evidence and details of how government funds were allocated and that is all.”