Special report: Dangote’s Emotional Outburst Over Forex Allocation; Tinubu Suspends Edu, minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation On Alleged Fraud

By Lateef Adegbite

 The last may not have been heard about the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, under the close watch of Ola Olukoyede, investigation of foreign exchange allocation by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, under Godwin Emefiele ,  to Dangote Industries  and 51 other  of Groups of companies between 2014 , during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s Administration  to the present  incumbent President Bola Ahmed  Tinubu’s government.

Tinubu And Buhari, when the going was good

Given an insider information on the EFCC officials visits to the company’s Head office in Lagos, the nation’s commercial nerve center, to obtain details of foreign exchange allocated to it by the CBN from 2014 till date, Aliko Dangote, a multi-billionaire business mogul and President Dangote industries, had confirmed  that at present the Group  are only responding  ‘’to a request for  information  to assist  the  anti-graft agency  with their ongoing investigations  into the CBN forex allocation under Emefiele’’.

 Dangote, who could not hide feelings had said that on Thursday,  December 6, 2023,  the conglomerate  had received a letter from the Olukoyede led agency requesting  for details of all  the foreign exchange transactions  to the Dangote Industry  by the CBN  from 2014, during  former President  Jonathan’s Administration  to the present Administration.

Olukoyede: EFCC Chairman

Dangote, who had  described the Group  as one of ‘’the key contributor  of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP,  largest employer in the country’s private sector,  one of the largest groups listed  on the Nigerian Stock Exchange Market, NSE,  and the highest taxpayers in Nigeria, had said that it had requested for  an additional time from the  agency  ‘’to compile and properly  present  the extensive  documentation  spanning the 10 years’’.

He noted that the Commission  did not provide the clarification sought by the group  and did not  also honour the company’s request  for an extension  of time but insisted  on receiving  ‘’the complete  set of documents  within the limited time frame’’.

The multi-billionaire business mogul, who incidentally is the President, Dangote Industries who did not want to make matters worse and who had played along with them   was said to have assured the EFCC officials of the company’s commitment to providing the information requested’’ but pledged to share the documents in batches as the company complete the compilation’’.

In keeping with the Groups promise to deliver all the information requested to the Commission in batches, the company was said to have delivered the first batch of the documents on Tuesday, January 4, 2024 but were not accepted by the EFCC officials who were said to have insisted on coming to the Group’s head office in Lagos to collect the same set of documents directly.

An aggrieved Dangote, who was said to  be  in faraway in the North American country of the United States, US at the time of the EFCC officials raid of the Group office in Lagos, had revealed that whilst the company’s officials were still  in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, to deliver the documents that had been requested by them, a team of the agency operatives stormed its Lagos office to demand the same set of documents that they had refused to accept in their office, thus describing’’ the visit as an unwarranted harassment’’. 

Aliko Dangote: President Dangote Industries Limited

  It was gathered  that the EFCC Operatives   carted away some  vital documents  from the Group’s Head office but  Dangote, the multi-billionaire President of the Group said  the’’ the EFCC  officials that stormed the company ‘s office never  take any documents  or files  as the documents were already in their  Abuja office’’.  

The EFCC operatives may have given the Dangote Group officials the impression that their Corporate Head office was not the only one raided by the agency to get the real details of forex allocation between 2014 and till date but 51 other Conglomerates including the BUA Group to avoid the impression that the EFCC officials were on a witch-hunting mission.

There are indications  that the Commission  had earlier  written over 85  entities, Corporate Organisations and individuals included in its quest’’ to unveil  alleged fraudulent foreign exchange  deals’’  that was said to have crippled  the naira  against the US  dollar, at both the Autonomous   and Parallel , popular, black market foreign   exchange market rates  during the time of  Emefiele as governor of CBN.

Note that  the Commission was said to have  invited  officials of the Dangote Industries and other affected entities and Corporate Organisations  who were said to have been directed to come up with  the details  of documents  of their foreign  exchange  transactions  in the last 10 years.

 The  agency were said to have made the officials of the invited entities and Corporate Organisations to understand  that  the government agency  is not out to witch-hunt any  Company or individual   but ‘’to probe  the preferential  treatment of foreign exchange  allocation  to some companies and individuals  under  Emefiele as CBN, governor against the extant  financial rules  and regulations  and CBN  Act’’. Informed sources told The Value News, that Dangote Group which is being investigated by the EFCC, was alleged to be one of the conglomerates   which had benefited from   the preferential foreign exchange allocations made by the former CBN, governor which was said to have facilitated the Group investment in $19 billion, 650,000b/d, refining and Petrochemical plant at Lekki, Free Trade Zone, in Lagos.   

Recall  that when the issue of the abuse of foreign exchange allocations to the 52 Companies and individuals by the former CBN  filtered out   in November 2023,  officials of Dangote Industries   had refuted the allegations   that’’ it was  involved  in forex malpractices  and money laundering  to the tune of  $3.4 billion’’  allegedly facilitated by Emefiele, the immediate past CBN governor. The Company was said to have denied the allegations  that the  money  was channeled to its  non-Nigerian  subsidiaries , prompting  illicit financial  flows  and round-tripping.

Dangote had repeatedly told those  who cares to listen that  the Group’s  investment undertakings  were financed  from the interbank market  stressing that  all its  transactions  are supported  by Letters of Credit, LC,  from the CBN,  in line  with international standards.

s ‘Kadir: DG,MAN:unhappy over EFCC Probe Of Dangote industries ltd and 51 other companies over forex Allocation by CBN under Emefiele as Governor

The Leadership of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, may not want the names of Corporate members be dragged to the mud by the EFCC, over forex allocation by CBN.  Segun Ajayi Kadir,  Director –General, MAN,  who had broken his silence on the vexed issue has warned against  witch-hunt   by the EFCC that may  scare the big –time investors  like the multi-billionaire Dangote  from further investing in the country.

Describing the invasion of Dangote Industries Limited Lagos office by EFCC officials as unfortunate, he noted that ‘’it is  something  that the President needs to look  into in a very serious manner  whether ‘’we are  going to  continue  to encourage private investment ,   and how to deal  the likes of Dangote and other big players, who are champions  , without any doubt’’.

He was emphatic. Dangote industry is an institution, it’s one of the biggest manufacturing entities in the country, not only in Nigeria, but in Africa, which had employed thousands of  people., noting that it’s one of the companies  that the Leadership of MAN rely  upon to get the country out of the present forex mess.

The MAN Director-General may have sent a message to the Leadership of EFCC  to watch it,  stating that if the forex allocation to the 52 Corporate members of the Association if not properly handled  ‘’it will scare foreign investors  from investing in the Nigerian economy’’.

 Kadir, the MAN, Director –General, would want  ‘’the EFCC, to come  out  to give  some form of  explanation  that will not only  reassure the officials of the Dangote Group but will further assure  other domestic investors  that their investments are safe’’.

There is no gain saying the fact  that the  EFCC , may have taken the probe of the Dangote Group and the 52 other entities and Corporate Organisations including individuals serious because  Jim Obazee, the Special Investigator on the CBN, had reported  to President Tinubu that  the forex  allocations to the companies and individuals  were not approved  by tformer President Buhari, an indications  it was  more of a means  for the former  apex bank helmsman  and his cronies  to engage in money laundering  through forex  sales using the  Bureau DE ‘Change Operators.

    More worrisome was the Obazee’s report that Emefiele had lodged public funds in foreign currencies in no fewer than 593 bank accounts in the US, United Kingdom, UK, and the Asian country of China without the approval of the apex bank’s Board of Directors and the Bank Investment Committee.

The Special CBN Investigator   had reported that the former CBN governor  allegedly lodged 543,482,213 pound sterling  in fixed deposits  in UK Banks  without authorization ,  noting that  he allegedly  manipulated  the  naira exchange rate  and committed much fraud   in the e-naira project.

The CBN Special Investigator ‘s report that the Delta state born former CBN governor  had refunded a whopping sum of  N4 trillion  to the coffers of the Federal government while Tunde Lemo, the then Deputy CBN , governor   reportedly refunded  $500 million  speaks volume.

 In a related development,  President Tinubu’s no  sacred cow policy appears  to have hit  Betta Edu,  minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation , who was said to have been suspended from office with immediate effect over the alleged transfer of N585,189,500.00 to  one Oniyelu Bridget Mojisola  Account for four states. The question on the lips of most people is : who is  Oniyelu Bridget Mojisola and why is a single personal  account  taking cash  for four states?

It was learnt that the suspended minister  of the  had instructed  the office of the Accountant General of the Federation to disburse the over half a billion naira  grant  meant  for vulnerable  roups in  Akwa Ibom, Cross river, Ogun and Lagos states to the personal account of  one Oniyelu Bridge Mojisola.

Although,  Rasheed  Zubairu, Media Aide to the minister ha said  that the payment into Mojisola, who currently serves  as the project Accountant  of Grants   for the vulnerable group in the ministry  followed due process but the President would not take it as he was said to have suspended her from office with immediate effect.  

 Determined to get to the root of the matter, the former Lagos state governor  was said to have asked the EFCC  to conduct  thorough investigation  into all aspects  of the financial  transactions involving  the Federal ministry of Humanitarian and Poverty Alleviation , as well as  one or more  agencies under the ministry.

Another panel headed by Wale Edun, minister of Finance and Coordinating minister of the Economy  probing the embattled minister financial scam have been asked  among other things  ‘’to conduct a comprehensive  diagnostic   on the financial architecture  and framework of the social   Investment  Program mes of the ministry   with a view  to conclusively  reforming  the relevant Institutions  and  program mes in a bid to eliminate  all institutional frailties for the exclusive benefit  of disadvantaged households and win back  lost public  confidence  in the initiative.

While  the current minister of Humanitarian and Poverty Alleviation has been suspended from office by President  Tinubu, over alleged transfer of more than half a billion naira to the personal account of one Oniyely Bridget Mojisola,  Hajia Sadiya Umar-Farouq, immediate past mister of Humanitarian  Affairs , Disaster Management  and Social Development under the former Buhari’s Administration  and who was earlier investigated by the anti-graft agency   over allegations  of Corruption  in the handling  of N37,170,855,753.44 billion  in social intervention  funds  laundered  under her close watch  by a contractor, one James Okwe.

   The former minister of the Federal  ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disater Management and Social Development , rebaptised  as the  ministry of  Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation who is being investigated by the EFCC,   had written  in her official social Media handle   on Monday, January, 8, 2024, that at her behest, she has arrived  at the EFCC Headquarters  in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT,  to honour the invitation  by the agency ‘’ to offer clarifications  in respect  of some issues  that the Commission is investigation’’ .  She was said to have been detained.

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