The probe into the Nigerian financial system is currently heating up as the team of special investigators set up to probe the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and related entities are working to unravel a slew of crimes already estimated at over N7 trillion, which could emerge as the biggest financial fraud in the history of the country.
Naija News recalls that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu appointed former Chief Executive of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC) and forensic auditor Jim Obazee, “Special Investigator” of the CBN and related entities in July.
It was gathered that the team of investigators, which included top Nigerian auditors and fraud detectives, was mandated to probe the activities of the apex bank and related entities under the suspended governor, Godwin Emefiele.
Those arrested and grilled by the Department of State Services (DSS) so far include executives of CBN’s consulting firms, top officials of the apex banks, and two deputy governors of the CBN – Kingsley Obiora and Aisha Ahmad.
Fresh updates from multiple sources knowledgeable about the operations told The Guardian that the team is currently analyzing documents, memos, and oral confessions that could lead to more arrests in the coming days.
The publication noted rising apprehensions in the offices of the regulator across the country as some directors “who must have played active roles in approving some of the deals” are being interrogated.
A reliable source said the panel was not primarily motivated by haphazard arrests but in concluding the probe and submitting a report on “how the financial system was mismanaged and the regulations compromised to enable the President to decide on what to do to clean up the system.”
Top bank owners and their cronies serving as chief executives are said to be actively connected with the rot Obazee, and his team is working round the clock to unearth.
According to sources, the panel has pledged not to leave any stone unturned to bring the culprits to book. Obazee, during his days at FRC, had the reputation of a blunt and no-nonsense regulator. He was reported to have snubbed bank chief executives who attempted to bribe him to secure approval for non-compliance financial statements.
Unconfirmed reports said he had rejected house and sundry gifts on account of sanitising the system. For his unyielding stance on regulatory issues, he was nicknamed the Super Regulator in the financial system.
A reliable source told The Guardian earlier this week that individuals “very close to the President” are making covert and subtle moves to limit or influence the panel’s works.
“They suddenly realised that it goes beyond politics and that the team wants to do the right thing in the interest of the public. So, they want to influence or limit the investigations. But that is a difficult thing to do; the assignment has started, and everybody knows about it,” a source insisted.
It was learnt that the investigation is already closing in on some of the political and business associates of the President, hence the move to restrict the investigation.
Names of top politicians and business moguls are already being mentioned as possible culprits in the emerging saga, and there are fears the President may be forced to succumb to their demands.
So far, the Obaze panel is said to have uncovered over N7 trillion frauds linked to the embattled CBN boss, Emefiele. Many bank chiefs are also said to have been interrogated concerning their roles in some transactions.
“The amount involved could be much more, but so far, not less than N7 trillion has been uncovered. It is an ongoing exercise. Daily, more facts are being uncovered in the mind boggling crimes committed by individuals saddled with the responsibility of managing the national economy,” The Guardian was informed.
Speaking yesterday, a source privy to the intense pressure the investigators have faced said those directly involved in the matter under the previous administration are “ready to buy anybody,” considering their desperation to get off the hook.
The Guardian was also informed of cases of evidence destruction within and outside the CBN offices, starting when Emefiele was arrested. This is said to have slowed down some of the ongoing investigations and efforts to establish clearly how some of the frauds were perpetrated.
The post Emefiele: Tinubu’s Panel Hunts ‘Conspirators’ As Buhari’s Men In ‘Subtle Move’ To Restrict Probe Scope appeared first on Naija News.
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