The Central Bank of Nigeria’s boss (CBN) Godwin Emefiele offered N1 billion bribe to get its N2.4 trillion 2023 budget passed, a federal lawmaker, Gudaji Kazaure has alleged.
In an explosive viral video, Kazaure who represents Yankwshi/Roni, Gwiwa/Kazaure Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, has accused Emefiele of planting men in strategic positions at the National Assembly, in order to do for them to do his bidding.
The Secretary of the dissolved Presidential Committee on Reconciliation and Recovery of Stamp Duties Revenue further accused the embattled CBN governor, Emefiele of increasing the apex bank’s annual appropriation by 100 per cent every fiscal year without proper defence or value for the money.
He said, “Shortly after the election of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Godwin Emefiele swiftly and smartly so, through pecuniary inducement influenced the selection of members of the House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Currency, particularly the chairman, in the person of Honorable Victor Nwokolo, who represents his (Emefiele) constituency. In fact, he is Emefiele’s younger brother.
Interestingly and curiously so, such a highly sensitive committee chairmanship position had previously never been ceded to the opposition. Of course, you know that Nwokolo who chairs the committee is a member of the opposition PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) and he is deputised by Hafisu.
“This man has practically bought over not just members of the National Assembly, but every influential Nigerian because the man (Emefiele) is richer than the Federal Government.”
On the CBN’s astronomical annual budget increments, he said, “When we came in 2019, CBN budget was N520 billion, last year (2022), they (CBN) presented N1.3 trillion budget, they could not defend it; yet this year (2023), they brought N2.4 trillion. To facilitate its smooth passage, they (CBN) bribed committee members with N1 billion. The can of worms was blown when the chairman of the committee gave each member N10 million only, that’s how I got to know about the fraud.”
Asked to confirm how much was CBN’s budget in the last three years, he said, “from N520 billion it went up to N1.3 trillion to N2.4 trillion this year. And it will interest you to know that of the 360 members of the National Assembly, less than 40 of us know about these facts.
“What we’re discussing now was blown open when the Chairman of the Appropriation, Mukhtar Betara demanded that CBN must explain why they need N2.4 trillion. Notwithstanding, the leadership of the National Assembly prevailed on him to allow the budget as brought and he did,” he added.
The CBN under Governor Emefiele has come under media scrutiny, particularly regarding several allegations of fraud involving trillions of naira.
On October 14, 2022, SaharaReporters reported how Kazaure revealed how N89 trillion from stamp duties was allegedly misappropriated and diverted by Emefiele.
Kazaure had said his committee was secretly constituted by President Muhammadu Buhari, with Adetola Adekoya and him as the chairman and secretary respectively.
He explained that he, in a letter dated August 8, 2022 sought the approval of Mr Buhari to set up the committee that included the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Bichi, Mohammed Wakili, a retired commissioner of police and one Mr Okafor, a retired staffer of the National Intelligence Agency.
A source in the government told SaharaReporters that President Buhari was not aware of a lot of things going on in his government, including details about the Stamp Duty charges. The source added that knowing this weakness, the people around Buhari had ensured he did not get to know about some fraudulent activities going on in his government.
In a document obtained by SaharaReporters, the lawmaker narrated how the funds were diverted using multiple circulars.
Kazaure added that the committee had flagged the funds ($171.0 billion) in CBN’s private investors account.
It also flagged funds recycled as loans to some banks, N13 trillion; and funds “recycled as FMDQ debt to FGN: N23.3 Trillion”.
He said, “How CBN Circular of 27th March 2013 was used to divert the revenue. School of Banking Honours “SBH” is a banking monotechnic that was registered by JAMB as an Innovation Enterprise Institution “IEI” under a new Federal Education policy to skill, re-skill and up-skill Nigerian Youth on all aspects of banking operations techniques, in making them to be more employable locally, and competitive globally. As SBH does not receive subvention or grants from FGN, it applied loans on research to make a difference on tertiary banking skills.
“SBH engaged NIBSS as Official Sweeping Agent to FGN on the new revenue, but its then CEO, Mr. Folashodun Adebisi Shonubi (now CBN Deputy Governor) complained, via email dated 18th January 2013 that the CBN Approval was not meant to increase cost of banking to customers; and Payment of N50 Stamp Duty on a N1000 transfer is “absurd” hence the threshold must be increased upwards. Quite unbelievably, NIBSS induced CBN to issue a Circular on 27th March 2013 for an aggregate N100 (i.e. banks N70; NIBSS N30) as “additional charges” on transfers from below their own N500,000 threshold, down to N1000 of Stamp Duties, while N50 Stamp Duties of Government in 2012, was blocked. What then started as “breach” of financial inclusion for banks / NIBSS against FGN in 2013, has now snowballed into monumental fraud that is unknown in banking history.”
Garba Shehu, a presidential spokesperson later debunked Kazaure’s N89 trillion missing funds claim, adding that it was “ludicrous that a member of the parliament would claim to be secretary of an executive committee”.