‘Whistleblower’ accusing CBN governor of fraud sent to prison.
By Halimah Yahaya
A man who accused the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, of fraud has been remanded in prison after he said Mr Emefiele should not be given another term.
The accuser, George Uboh, who heads the nongovernmental George Uboh Whistleblowers Network, was remanded on May 23 in Suleja prison following a defamation suit filed by Mr Emefiele.
Mr Uboh was arrested as he was leaving the court after being granted bail in another matter last week, his lawyer, JohnMary Jideobi, said.
Mr Uboh was the first to file a suit against Mr Emefiele at the Federal High Court, Abuja, challenging the federal government’s plans to extend the appointment of Mr Emiefele.
Mr Uboh, in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/419/2019, wanted the court to stop the re-appointment.
Despite an exparte order, Mr Emiefiele was yet to answer the pending case when the Senate confirmed him for a second term in office.
In the suit brought before the Federal High Court, Abuja division, Mr Uboh said the federal government could not ask the Senate to confirm Mr Emiefele’s reappointment “when a matter challenging his stewardship at the Central Bank before the court had not been decided.”
According to copies of the suit seen by PREMIUM TIMES, Mr Uboh accused the CBN governor of conniving with the leadership of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to defraud Nigerians.
In an affidavit deposed to by Martin Okoye, a lawyer at the chambers of Mr Jideobi, the applicant said Mr Emefiele connived with the NNPC to divert $24 million from funds which accrued to Nigeria through the sale of petroleum products in the country.
“In January, 2016, NNPC issued an instruction to the CBN; headed by the Defendant to transfer $162, 064, 237.46 to CBN/JV Cash Call Account 001-1-658-366 with JP Morgan and Debit CBN/NNPC Crude Oil Revenue Domiciliary Account No. 400941775.
“That a closer scrutiny of “Exhibit GUWN 8” and “Exhibit GUWN 9” clearly shows that while revenue from gas may have been correctly stated, that of crude oil was understated to the tune of Twenty Four Million United States Dollars [$24, 000, 000.00].
“That the instruction of the NNPC directing the CBN to remit $162, 064, 237.46 instead of the $186, 327, 246.02 it generated clearly reveals the collusion of the Defendant with the NNPC to rip the Treasury of the Federal Government and the FAAC of $24, 263, 008.56. Now shown to me and marked as “Exhibit SUIT 1.”
The applicant also said Mr Emiefele diverted over $760 million from foreign exchange earnings.
“In 2017, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) confirmed to have sold forex to Bureau De Change (BDCs) at four (4) different locations across the Federation, namely Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Awka. The Apex Bank further confirmed that a total sum of Four Billion, One Hundred and Fifty Nine Million, Nine Hundred and Sixteen Thousand United States Dollars [$4, 159, 916, 000.00] were sold to the BSCs in 2017.
“That despite the Apex Bank selling forex to the BDCs at the rates of N360.00 to N381.00 per Dollar in 2017, it never declared more than N304-N305 per dollar. This occasioned a huge loss of over N232 billion (which is an equivalent of $760 million) to the Federal Government’s Treasury from the forex sales of BDCs alone, representing exchange gains which should have been disclosed to the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee [FAAC].”
With the pending suit filed against him, which he was yet to respond to, Mr Emefiele ensured Mr Uboh’s arrest and prosecution.
Mr Uboh was arrested by operatives of the Police Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID).