Embattled former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, has faulted allegations of stolen funds against him in the recently released report of the Special Investigator on the CBN and Related Entities.
He explained his stance in a statement on Sunday titled, ‘Re: Emefiele, others stole billions, illegally kept Nigeria’s funds in foreign banks’.
Last week, the Special Investigator on the CBN and Related Entities, Jim Obaze, disclosed that the ex-CBN governor lodged £543, 482,213 in fixed deposits in UK banks alone without authorisation.
Obaze’s report partly read, “The former governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele invested Nigeria’s money without authorisation in 593 foreign bank accounts in the United States, China and the United Kingdom, while he was in charge.
“All the accounts where the billions were lodged have all been traced by the investigator.”
But reacting in a statement on Sunday, Emefiele said, “After my release on bail from the correctional centre, Kuje, my attention was drawn to publications released by some mainstream and online news platforms. The sources of the information published by both media houses were credited to a certain report prepared by a Mr. Jim Obazee, who was appointed by the President as a private investigator.
“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.
“Because of my present situation, 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.”
Emefiele added, “Because of my present situation, 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, he added, “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 own investigative team.
“Moreover, former President Muhammadu Buhari 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 $6.23m was withdrawn from the CBN vault based on a false presidential directive bearing the signature of the former president Muhammadu Buhari, and that of the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha.”
About two weeks ago, he said, Obazee in the company of a certain Deputy Commissioner of Police from Force CID, came to Kuje to ask him questions in respect of the said document in the presence of my lawyers.
He explained, “I stated verbally and in writing that I have no knowledge of such 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.”
The former CBN governor said, “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 know about their openings.
“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.
“I therefore join well-meaning Nigerians who have spoken on this matter and have demanded a thorough and transparent investigation of all these alleged frauds.”
He added that, “I have instructed my lawyers to immediately commence the legal process to clear my name from the defamatory statements contained in the report and by extension the publications.”