Bloomberg

A whistle blower, George Uboh, has challenged the plan by the federal government to extend the appointment of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele.

Uboh, a financial recovery agent, wants the court to revoke the letter of Emiefele’s re-appointment by the federal government announced on Friday.

In the suit brought before the Federal High Court, Abuja division, Uboh said the federal government cannot ask the Senate to confirm 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 newsmen, Uboh is accusing 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 the applicant’s counsel, JohnMary Jideobi, the applicant said Mr Emiefele connived with the NNPC to divert $24 million from funds 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.”

According to the charge; the applicant also said Emiefele diverted over $760 million from its record accrued 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 Naira (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].”

The applicant is asking the Nigerian Senate to refrain from affirming the appointment of Mr Emiefele given the stated allegations.

Who is Uboh?

Following an application in February 2016, Uboh was employed by the Nigerian government to “trace, recover and remit Federal Government funds trapped in the under listed banks: Access Bank, First Bank, Zenith Bank, Diamond Bank, Fidelity Bank, UBA, Union Bank, Spring Bank-Enterprise Bank, Afribank-Mainstreet Bank, Oceanic Bank-Ecobank, Bank PHB-Keystone, FCMB and WEMA Bank.”

Following his investigations; Uboh released a report of funds traced from the various banks to include 47.14 billion naira, 598.7 million dollars, and £23.5 million pounds.

A breakdown of the recoveries were listed as follows:

S/N Bank Name Naira $ Dollars £ Pounds
i Oceanic Bank 23365781
ii Access Bank 5898243009 5204176
iii Enterprise Bank 4916764635 2947322
iv GTB 7117785253
v Eco Bank 2080000000
vi Keystone Bank 4513663789 582329623 2629
vii Skye Bank 13313050000
viii Citi Bank 306300358 8217074 149289
ix Zenith Bank 9000000000
Total 47138807044 598698195 23517699

Despite the alleged recoveries, however, Uboh’s appointment was revoked in March that year by the Attorney-General, Abubakar Malami, who accused Uboh of “concealing a criminal past.”

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