Friday 4 December 2015

'How CBN Emptied Its Vaults To Finance PDP’s Presidential Campaign

According to TheCable the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) practically emptied its vaults apparently to finance the presidential campaign of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), sources conversant with investigations into security spending in the last administration have informed 

TheCable. TheCable had earlier reported the extra-budgetary disbursement of N40 billion to the office of the national security adviser and N20 billion to the Department of State Services (DSS) by the CBN, but fresh revelations indicate that the monies were released in dollar cash — contrary to all money laundering regulations. They were taken directly from the dollar reserve vaults of the central bank, TheCable understands. 

Security sources disclosed that in August 2014, Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor, called a board meeting and asked for an approval of N60 billion to support the security services under a “special security intervention fund” he intended to create. Emefiele, who is also chairman of the board, told the members that the money was needed to equip the military to fight the insurgency in the north-east following a series of onslaughts by Boko Haram. Some board members reportedly cautioned him against such an audacious move, advising instead that the expenditure should be tied to procurement, but he was said to have rejected the advice. This was shortly after he had secured approval from President Goodluck Jonathan to disburse the funds. Sambo Dasuki, retired colonel and then NSA, had twice requested for N60 billion in documents seen by TheCable — and was only successful at third attempt following Jonathan’s intervention. In the new documents seen by TheCable, the former NSA regularly wrote to Emefiele asking him to disburse the approved money in hard currency equivalent, usually in tranches of N10 billion.

Investigators have now traced some of the monies collected by the office of the NSA to the PDP presidential campaign, with Raymond Dokpesi, chairman of AIT, revealing that he collected N2.1 billion from the office to undertake media publicity for Jonathan. Dasuki has said not all the monies he received were for security, maintaining that some were for NGOs. 

However, questions have been raised on how CBN created the security fund overnight to meet NSA’s requests. “What the CBN did was to create an intervention fund, which it is empowered to do by the CBN Act. That is why we have aviation intervention fund, agriculture intervention fund, all sorts, which are now being abused to take money out of the system,” one of the sources said. A former minister told TheCable that it is illegal for the CBN to pay raw dollars to any government agency. 

He said: “If the money was given to the NSA in naira, this would be a case of the CBN printing money for the government and adding to pressure on prices and exchange rates. I was told a lot of this happened in many instances and did a lot of damage to the economy. “If, on the other hand, as it is being alleged in this case, the NSA was given this money in cash forex, then a strong case can be made for criminal activity by the CBN itself. In giving so much cash, the CBN is itself involved in money laundering. And by taking it from the central bank vaults, the management of the central bank has effectively taken foreign exchange from CBN reserves and given same to the NSA with no questions asked.” 

The way it was done, according to CBN insiders, “was that the money was taken directly from CBN vaults without any account being credited. It effectively did not go through the due process. The accountant-general did not sign off as it is the practice. “Money was just moved directly like it happened under Gen. Sani Abacha when large amounts were taken out of the CBN under the guise of financing ECOMOG, the West African peace-keeping force. We know where the bulk ended up.”

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