Officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) have grilled top directors of the Central Bank of Nigeria over their roles in the N2 billion loan given to the National President of the National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTAN), Anibe Achimugu.
Achimugu is also the Managing Director of Arewa Cotton and Allied Products Limited.
Sources told SaharaReporters that the CBN directors were grilled for hours by EFCC investigators over the loan during the week.
They were asked to explain why an individual could get such a multi-billion-naira loan from the apex bank.
According to a top EFCC official, the apex bank directors denied knowing when the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele approved the loan for Achimugu, adding that it wasn’t discussed during any of their meetings.
They also tagged the approval of such a loan as illegal.
“The President of National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTAN) and managing director of Arewa Cotton, Mr Anibe Achimugu was given N2 billion by Emefiele,” one of the sources said.
“Our (EFCC) investigators invited top CBN directors to explain how an individual could get such a personal loan from the apex bank, they were interrogated for hours and they denied knowing when Emefiele approved such a loan. They said they were not aware he gave out such an amount to Achimugu.
“We discovered that the whole association, NACOTAN, was earlier given N24 billion intervention funds approved by Buhari to grow and harvest cotton. But only N10 billion was recovered as the group claimed bandits didn’t allow them to harvest their cotton.
“Yet, Emefiele through the back door approved N2 billion for the President of this same association. The investigation also showed that Emefiele collected back part of the N24 billion initially given to the association as kickbacks. This is the reason why he doesn’t care about it being paid back or not.”
Recently, Nigeria’s secret police, the Department of State Services, moved to arrest and detain Emefiele over alleged terrorism financing.
A Federal High Court in Abuja however declined an application for an arrest warrant by the secret police to make the arrest.
SaharaReporters had reported how the CBN boss had perfected plans to cover up his corruption records in the last eight years.
Emefiele, who has been governor since 2014, is the first person to serve two terms at the head of Nigeria’s apex bank in nearly 20 years.
He was first appointed by then-President Goodluck Jonathan in June 2014, after Sarah Alade served out the term of the suspended Lamido Sanusi.
Multiple sources told SaharaReporters how Emefiele secretly sent the names of Mrs. Aishah N, Ahmad, Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability Directorate and that of Mr. Edward L. Adamu Deputy Governor, Corporate Services Directorate to President Muhammadu Buhari for renewal.
The duo who are board members of the apex bank were first appointed on March 23, 2018, by the President.
The move by Emefiele to nominate his stooges for re-appointment was part of plans to cover his corruption records in the bank.
“Emefiele has secretly sent Aisha and Edwards name for renewal months before time to stop the next government from appointing their own candidate and to allow them cover his back,” a source in the bank had told SaharaReporters.
“He has paid the villa cabals millions in dollars to get the renewals approved. Edward was that one on the audio SaharaReporters exclusively leaked.
“Aisha is that deputy governor Samaila Isa Funtua and his son brought.”
SaharaReporters had reported that Emefiele; the President of African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), and Prof. Benedict Oramah; among others were under investigation over the $300 million the pan-African multilateral financial institution gave to Titan Trust Bank Limited to acquire 93.4 per cent stake in the Union Bank of Nigeria Plc.
Others being investigated are Aminu Yaro, a Northern business mogul and one Farouk Gumel.
Sources had told SaharaReporters that the EFCC, DSS, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) were all investigating Oramah, Emefiele and others.
In contravention of the CBN act, Emefiele early in the year joined the ruling All Progressives Congress.
The action was against Section 9 of the CBN Act, 2007, which stated: “The Governor and the Deputy Governors shall devote the whole of their time to the service of the bank and while holding office shall not engage in any full or part-time employment or vocation whether remunerated or not except such personal or charitable causes as may be determined by the Board and which do not conflict with or detract from their full-time duties.”
According to the chairman of Ward 6 in the Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State, Nduka Erikpume, the CBN governor had registered as an APC member.
“Yes, he has registered since February 2021. He is our member,” Erikpume had said.
Amid widespread condemnations, the CBN governor headed to a Federal High Court in Abuja to seek a constitutional interpretation of his non-resignation while pursuing his political interests.