Emefiele spent N1.7bn as legal fees for suits against naira redesign – CBN special investigator

Emefiele spent N1.7bn as legal fees for suits against naira redesign – CBN special investigator

An independent report has indicted the embattled former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, of spending over N1.7 billion o

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An independent report has indicted the embattled former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, of spending over N1.7 billion on legal fees for suits instituted against the naira redesign policy introduced during former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

Recall that President Tinubu had appointed Obazee, a former Executive Secretary of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, as the CBN special investigator in July 2023.

Emefiele was said to have spent questionable legal fees for 19 cases instituted against the policy.

In the report, Emefiele was quoted as also using N1.325 billion, for what was described as stolen pre-incorporation, adding that the money was funneled to four companies, including a legal firm that got N300 million.

An investment company, between 2015 and 2021, was said to have collected unlawfully a total of N4.89 billion.

A breakdown indicated that the firm received N262 million in 2015, N464 million in 2016, N550 millon in 2017, N726 million in 2018, N762 million in 2019, N684 million in 2020, and N1.44 billon in 2021, totaling N4.89 billion.

Emefiele in the report was further indicted of allegedly paying N17.2 billion to 14 deposit money banks participating in the Nigerian Electricity Market Stabilization Facility.

Among the people who instituted an action against Emefiele on the policy were eight states, including Kaduna, Kogi, Zamfara, Ekiti, Kano, and Ondo, while disagreeing with the deadlines for the use of old Naira notes in the country.

The suit came as a result of the difficulties caused by the policy in the lives of citizens, the practicality of the deadline, and the constitutionality of the policy.

Another litigant was a Lagos-based lawyer, Tope Alabi, who approached the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos for leave to initiate contempt proceedings against the former CBN governor for alleged disobedience of the Supreme Court orders on its naira redesign policy.

Alabi made the application via a March 27 ex parte motion in the suit, with Godwin Emefiele listed as the sole respondent.

Describing the naira swap as a cash confiscation policy, he said it had affected the day-to-day running of his office as his staff could not make it to work daily due to the non-availability of physical cash, adding that commercial drivers do not have a point of sale device/machine to collect fares.

The lawyer filed a 28-page affidavit in support of his application wherein he claimed that the Supreme Court on March 10, in Suit No. SC. 162/2023, directed Emefiele to make available and allow the old naira notes of N200, N500, and N1000 to co-exist as legal tender with the new N200, N500, and N1000 notes till December 2023.

It was further learned that Emefiele could be tried for alleged manipulation of the naira exchange rate, fraudulent implementation of the e-naira project, and exemption of three foreign firms from paying income tax.