Emiefele: Heads will roll as investigators beam searchlight on CBN, NIRSAL


President Bola Tinubu has appointed a special investigator to investigate allegations of corrupt behaviour at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and affiliated institutions.

According to Daily Trust, Tinubu appointed Jim Obazee as a Special Investigator to investigate the CBN and other related entities after the dismissal and subsequent arrest of Godwin Emiefele.

The appointment of Obazee, Tinubu wrote in a letter dated July 28, was in furtherance of his administration’s anti-corruption fight, citing the fundamental objective outlined in Section 15(5) of the Nigerian Constitution.

On September 6, the Inspector General of Police had sent four top-level officers to aid the special investigator in their investigation of the central bank and its affiliates.

Obazee had written to the IGP on August 18 asking for the deployment of senior officers to his office to help with the launch and subsequent completion of his assignment.

In response, the IGP sent a letter to the commissioners titled “Deployment of Police Personnel,” citing the following officers: DCP Eloho Edwin Okpoziakpo, CSP Celestine Odo, CSP Segun Aderoju, and DSP Tijani A. Bako.

It has been learned that the top brass at the CBN and NIRSAL are already anxious about the preliminary findings based on intelligence developed by the investigating team led by DCP Eloho.

Managing Director Aliyu Abbati Abdulhameed, who was eventually fired by ex-President Muhammadu Buhari, was the subject of multiple investigations into corruption allegations by this paper in December 2022.

According to Daily Trust’s sources, the investigation into the former MD will focus on both the N5.6 billion wheat project scandal in Kano and Jigawa states and the alleged allocation of about N600,000 per month for the upkeep of the former MD’s dogs.

As the crack team prepares to begin questioning them about contracts at NIRSAL and the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme, it has been reported that some close aides of the embattled ex-CBN governor and officials of other affected entities are nervous.

Syspec Network Limited of No.20 Jalingo Shopping Complex, Jalingo, Taraba State was the first recipient of a contract for the design, development, and hosting of the Jigawa State unemployed graduate database for NIRSAL.

On May 23, 2016, then-Managing Director of NIRSAL Aliyu Abdulhameed signed a contract award letter with the reference number MD/PROC/013. Its conduit status was rumoured to have been renewed multiple times.

Investigators will also look into whether or not parties close to the troubled CBN governor had any involvement in the Anchor Borrowers’ fixed deposit accounts. The goal of the scheme was for the participants to divide up the interest accrued on the deposits.

A source told our correspondent that because of this development, fertilisers and other inputs were late in arriving to farmers. By the time they were supplied, the planting season would have ended, and farmers would still be expected to pay for the unsupplied inputs.

Farmers who receive loans through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme are expected to repay them with harvest crops to an anchor, who will then deposit the cash equivalent into the farmer’s account.

According to another source who spoke on the condition of anonymity, a former aide to the CBN governor was among those involved in the fixed deposits racket. This individual allegedly managed 61 bank accounts, 44 of which were for fixed deposits and 2 of which were for treasury bills.

The appointment of Obazee, Tinubu wrote in a letter dated July 28, was in furtherance of his administration’s anti-corruption fight, citing the fundamental objective outlined in Section 15(5) of the Nigerian Constitution.

Obazee served as the CEO of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) from 2013 until his appointment. The president wanted him to start right away, and he would be reporting to him personally.

It has been learned that the top brass at the CBN and NIRSAL are already on edge due to the shocking preliminary intelligence uncovered by the investigator’s team headed by DCP Eloho.

Eloho, a well-respected investigator, has reportedly been nominated by the IGP to lead the Special Investigator’s support team in an effort to bolster President Tinubu’s fight against corruption and economic sabotage.

All funds spent on these agricultural programmes have been ordered to be recouped per a recent presidential edict.

DCP Eloho, who is widely regarded as a top investigator in the police department, reportedly served as the IGP’s direct report in the Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Division (CID). The IGP first noticed Eloho’s investigative skills and tenacity there.

According to sources within the Nigeria Police Force, Eloho has worked as an investigator for over 20 years at the highest levels of investigations, has a master’s degree in International Law and Diplomacy, and has extensive experience with economic, financial, cybercrime, and other types of white collar crime.

According to reports, DCP Eloho got his start in investigations while working for the FCT Police Command, where he oversaw the Commissioner’s Monitoring Unit from 2005 to 2008. In this role, the CP would often bring important matters directly to him, and the toughest investigations would be delegated to him from other divisions.

After starting out in the General Investigation Section of the Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU) in Ikoyi, Lagos, he was promoted to head several sensitive sections in 2008 and given a position at the national level.

Cybercrime, Assets Fraud, Bank Fraud, and Anti-Money Laundering are just some of the divisions he oversaw.

Eloho has served in a number of investigative capacities at both the state command level and the Force Headquarters (FCIID) level, and is currently in charge of the Counter Intelligence Unit (CIU) of the Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB).

In order to aid the Nigerian financial sector in the investigation of e-Payment and card crimes, he led a new unit established at the request of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in collaboration with the Nigeria Electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF).

Document and file deletion at NIRSAL

Some CBN and NIRSAL officials who are the subject of the investigation have apparently attempted to thwart it. Office files, contract documents, and other records were allegedly destroyed as a result.

A contract for the creation of NIRSAL’s ICT Policy, according to sources familiar with the investigation, was among the office documents that went up in smoke.

An anonymous source close to the situation explained, “Financial trails show payments were made multiple times for the same contract, but the record of this contract has disappeared from NIRSAL’s procurement department.”

According to another source, the investigation team may encounter roadblocks in getting to the bottom of the matter unless it employs ways and means of obtaining the necessary contract records and documents.

When asked whether or not NIRSAL destroys files and other records, Sheriff Salaudeen, the head of procurement, said no when contacted by phone.

He refused to elaborate and insisted that NIRSAL send a written request if it wanted to hear from him again.

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