Audio recordings, obtained by Sahara Reporters, have emerged online, with voices alleged to be those of the CBN governor, Godwin Emifiele and his deputy, Edward Lametek Adamu and the Director for Finance Dayo M. Arowosegbe including one of the Special Advisers to the CBN Governor, Emmanuel Ukeje discussing ways to cover up funds missing from the Nigerian treasury.
The two telephone audio tapes, as claimed by Sahara Reporters, reveal how the governor and top officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria haggled over plots to conceal the loss of huge sums of monies in a Dubai investment according to sources at the bank.
The CBN in a press statement on Sunday signed by Issac Okorafor, its director corporate communications, admitted the authenticity of the audio recordings but denied claims by Sahara Reporters that N500 billion naira was stolen from the treasury. The Central bank gave detailed explanations of what it claims to be the true nature of events that led to the calls that now emerged online.
The statement read “In closing the Bank’s 2018 accounts, external auditors in their Draft Account, erroneously classified about N150 billion of these loans as bad, which negatively affected the Bank’s Balance Sheet and shareholders fund. The selective conversation being circulated was simply a discussion to ascertain why the auditors took that position and next steps to resolving it. Obviously, it soon became clear that a State Government loan cannot be classified as “bad” or “irrecoverable” when the State still exists and getting FAAC allocations. The Bank then reached out to the Federal Ministry of Finance and they jointly gave comfort to the auditors who accepted in writing that these monies would be repaid. On this basis, the auditors reversed the negative entry and the certified that the CBN’s 2018 accounts were a true reflection of the State of Affairs. Reconciliation of Balance Sheet items are regular conversations amongst Senior Management of many agencies and should not be misconstrued as anything but that”.
In the audio recordings, which were posted by Sahara Reporters in two parts, the CBN governor, Mr Emefiele is heard saying to the deputy governor Adamu: “To avoid any serious problem is just, the government to have to agree to give us at least 100 billion cash but the government will not agree. They will kick against it”.
Expressing fear over what the opposition will say about the loss of the money which will slip Nigeria into hard times, the CBN governor can be heard in the audio saying: “How do I handle this? to which the deputy governor replied “we have to rack our brain and do something out because we can’t afford it at all, not at this time. Emefiele replies “the implication for the economy is, no no, no”.
“The opposition will say it should have depreciated in the project.
The tapes revealed how the top officials managing Nigeria’s central bank connived and conspired to cover up financial fraud which has affected the Nigerian economy.
Mr. Emefielem who once served as Managing Director of Zenith Bank of Nigerian was appointed by former President Goodluck Jonathan to head the CBN in June 2014.
Last week, Mr. Emefiele was renominated for a five-year tenure by President Buhari.
These audio clips show Emefiele discussing extensively with top officials of the bank to conceal the loss made with the shareholders’ funds from commercial banks, the monies were reportedly diverted to invest in Dubai to the tune of N500 Billion sometimes towards the end of 2018 and they reportedly lost that investment.
Emefiele repeatedly lamented the hopelessness of a way out of the problem: “I’ll have to think of a way out because we cannot afford it at all.
“The implications are just too many to even think about and damaging. We cannot allow this like this, we cannot” he said.
In the discussions captured on tape, top financial officers at the CBN blamed one Arowosegbe and at several points contemplated cooking up the books, discarding several ideas.
At some point in the conversation, they plotted to ask the federal government for the shortfall through the Ministry of Finance but decided against it to limit outside exposure.
As the conversation went on they didn’t know what to do to avoid a negative balance sheet for the shareholders’ fund entrusted to the apex bank.
sources at the CBN claim that Mr. Emefiele and others in the bank eventually found a way out of their dilemma by diverting funds in possession of the CBN and also printing hard cold cash.