The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to launch an investigation into the audio leaking phone conversation of Godwin Emefiele, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, on how to cover up stolen N500 billion.
HEDA, a civil society group, said that an investigation if conducted would reveal many other hidden activities going on in the CBN.
SaharaReporters had exclusively reported how Emefiele; Adamu Lamatek, CBN Deputy Governor; and other top officials in CBN, stole and spent N500bn from the country’s account while finding a way to frantically cover it up.
The CBN, in a hasty report, however, claimed that no money is missing from the apex bank.
Reacting, Olanrewaju Suraj, Chairman of HEDA, said that the audio is a unique opportunity to purge the CBN of its bad eggs while adding that the worst that can be done is for the President to ignore the issue.
He said, “The worst a country can do is to ignore serious allegations of corruption against the apex bank which is expected to be a role model for best financial practices. In this case, the CBN topmost officials were caught on tape discussing a failed transaction to the tune of N500 billion. The minimum Nigerians can demand is for a high-level inquiry to the whole affair. We are convinced this will open up many more cans of worms.
“Even if the funds loans for states, it was important to know if the loans were this non tax ways and means. It is important to know how the CBN expected the states to pay back the loans and this follows the pertinent question whether the CBN should give out loans fully aware that it will be difficult to pay back the loans except to deduct from Federal Allocations.
“It is also important to know the impact of the loans on the exchange rate of the Naira.
“The N500billion has also raised issues about how much loans have been inherited by the CBN considering others like the N5.3 Trillion AMCON bond inherited by the CBN where assets are difficult to recover. As at present, AMCON has been able to recover only very little.
Suraj also stated that the CBN in its explanation failed to address whether the audio reflects what is going on in the apex bank adding that Nigerians deserve to know how the loan of 2015 only affects the book in 2018.
“Nigerians need to know the CBN officials involved in the transaction. Nigerians wish to know if there are other similar transactions involving CBN officials in the past or at present.”
He posited that the stolen 500bn allegation would represent one of the biggest litmus tests for President Mohammadu Buhari in his fight against corruption.