Unauthorized Naira Redesign: Special Investigator Reveals Buhari Did Not Approve    - The Top Society

Unauthorized Naira Redesign: Special Investigator Reveals Buhari Did Not Approve   

...Former President's Nephew, Sabiu Yusuf Implicated


Special Investigator on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Related Entities, Jim Obazee, has disclosed that the recent naira redesign was not expressly approved by former President Muhammadu Buhari.

The approval, according to Obazee’s final report, allegedly came from Buhari’s aide, Sabiu Tunde ‘Yusuf’.

FG Examines Document as CBN Investigator Presents Interim Findings

Obazee, a former Executive Secretary of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, was appointed by President Bola Tinubu to investigate the CBN in a letter dated July 28, 2023.

The report, titled ‘Report of the Special Investigation on CBN and Related Entities (Chargeable Offences)’, was submitted to President Tinubu on Wednesday.

The investigation unearthed that the embattled former CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, collaborated with Sabiu to implement the unauthorized naira redesign. Sabiu, being the former President’s nephew, allegedly played a key role in selling the initiative to Buhari without the approval of the CBN board.

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Emefiele, currently in Kuje Custodial Centre facing prosecution for N1.2bn in procurement fraud, might face additional charges related to the illegal issuance of currency under Section 19 of the CBN Act. Sabiu and 12 top directors of the CBN could also be implicated.

“On October 6, 2022, Emefiele wrote to Buhari that he wanted to redesign and reconfigure the N1000, N500, and N200 notes. 

“The former president tagged along but did not approve the redesign as required by law. Buhari merely approved that the currency be printed in Nigeria. The redesign was only mentioned to the board of the CBN on December 15, 2022, after Emefiele had awarded the contract to Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc on October 31, 2022,’’ the documents noted. 

Documents revealed that Sabiu initiated the naira redesign policy in September 2022, and Emefiele subsequently contracted De La Rue of the UK for £205,000 after the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc couldn’t meet the tight timeframe. 

The report exposed that N61.5bn was earmarked for the printing of new notes, with N31.79bn already paid.

“The probe of the CBN also revealed the fraudulent use of N26.627tn Ways and Means of the Apex Bank as well as the misuse of the COVID-19 intervention fund. 

“For instance, the CBN under Emefiele at its 661st meeting held on October 27, 2020, approved that the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account should be debited with the sum of N124.860bn, and the decision was implemented on October 9. 

“Similarly, the Committee of Governors, at its 670th meeting held on December 9, 2020, granted ‘anticipatory approval’ pending receipt of a formal request by Mr President and ratification by the board of directors for the payment of the sum of N250bn only to the Federal Government of Nigeria to address challenges as a result of low revenue inflow and the payment of salaries. 

“The decision was implemented on December 15, 2020.” 

Furthermore, it highlighted abuse of the CBN Ways and Means provision under the Buhari administration, allowing the government to borrow for short-term or emergency finance.

Despite the scarcity of naira in 2022, the CBN and its subsidiary spent a staggering N74.84bn to produce and roll out currencies, including new naira notes—an increase of 40.42% from the previous year’s expenditure of N53.29bn.

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