The Guardian
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Why CBN Chiefs Were Suspended


cbn1024x768The need for an unfettered investigations into allegations that some highly placed functionaries of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are behind the rationale for their suspension, the Acting Director of the apex bank’s Corporate Affairs Department, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor has explained.

Speaking with The Guardian yesterday on the issue, Okoroafor declared that the affected functionaries have not been found culpable of the fraud reported by the bank on Thursday night, but are merely suspects; hence their suspension.

Okoroafor said: “Let me clarify here that the staff sent on suspension have not been indicted. The fraud was committed by outsiders, but there are insinuations that the affected staff may have played one or two roles in aiding or abating the criminality.

“That is why the management decided that they should proceed on suspension to allow for an unfettered investigation into the incidence to establish their culpability or innocence.

“They remain innocent until proven otherwise by the investigation. I think that this clarification is necessary, so as not to begin to disparage official(s) who may at the end of the day be innocent about the crime they are being accused of.

“It is for this reason too that we are very circumspect on the identities of the suspended officials and the CBN will at the appropriate time reveal who they are and the nature of the crime involved.

“Please, give us time.”

However, it was gathered that one of the deputy governors might be involved. Three directors manning some of the vital departments that pilots the key mandate of the CBN are also being fingered in the scam involving $400 million forex round-tripping, which has been at the base of the current pressure on the naira, with some people advocating for a further devaluation of the currency.

Two of the accused/suspended officials have been at the forefront of campaigns against the continuous speculation on the naira by people they described as “unpatriotic” Nigerians and portfolio investors, pointing out that some Nigerians were keeping in their domiciliary accounts locally a whopping sum of $20 billion when the country was in dire strait of dollar supplies.

Also, some of the CBN staffers who spoke to The Guardian on condition of anonymity, asserted that the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, had to be proactive in taking action against the officials to save his own head when it became clear that President Muhammadu Buhari could descend on the apex bank for the untold hardship the institution has brought upon the nation through acts of round-tripping.

Buhari recently pointedly accused some CBN top officials of being owners of the Bureau de Change, who were perpetrating all manners of harm on the naira by devaluing it through the backdoor for their own selfish benefits.

Arising from the President’s posture a week later, his Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mallam Abubakar Malami, equally worried by the nefarious activities of these men, declared them as economic terrorists and vowed that they must be prosecuted in line with laid down rules to serve as deterrent to others.

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