Home » EFCC Raids Dangote HQ, Probes Forex Deals

EFCC Raids Dangote HQ, Probes Forex Deals

Nigeria's anti-graft agency investigates alleged forex abuse by former CBN governor and 52 companies

by Victor Adetimilehin

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday stormed the headquarters of Dangote Industries Limited in Ikoyi, Lagos, as part of its ongoing probe into the alleged forex abuse by the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele.


According to a report by Punch, the EFCC is looking into the alleged preferential forex allocations to the Dangote Group, owned by Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote, and 51 other companies under the Emefiele-led CBN.


The EFCC had earlier written to the 52 companies, asking them to provide documents supporting the forex allocations and utilisation at official rates in the last 10 years. The commission also requested the companies to submit Form A and Form M, which detailed the forex transactions between 2014 and June 2023.


While some companies complied with the EFCC’s directive, others reportedly asked for more time to gather the required documents.


The EFCC’s operation at the Dangote headquarters, which lasted for several hours, caught the staff and visitors by surprise. The anti-graft operatives ransacked offices and carted away financial documents related to the forex allocations from 2014 to June 2023, when President Bola Tinubu suspended Emefiele from office.


The EFCC spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, declined to comment on the raid, while the Dangote Group’s spokesperson, Sunday Esan, did not respond to phone calls or messages.


A source within the Dangote Group claimed that the company had honoured the EFCC’s request and wondered why the commission chose to embarrass them.


“We don’t know why they came to our office again; we had earlier been invited to the office of the EFCC. As such, the Dangote officials took along all the documents and submitted them. We don’t know why they eventually decided to visit our office again,” the source said.


The source added, “The question we are asking is what did they come to take from our office when we had honoured their invitation? They left with empty hands because all the documents they wanted from us had been taken to them. The same EFCC that came to our office is the one giving information to the media that they are investigating us.”  


The EFCC’s probe is based on the findings of a private investigator, Jim Obazee, who uncovered how Emefiele allegedly lodged public funds in foreign currencies in over 500 bank accounts in the US, UK, and China without the approval of the CBN board and the CBN Investment Committee.


Obazee also accused Emefiele of manipulating the naira exchange rate, committing fraud in the e-Naira project, and issuing illegal currency under section 19 of the CBN Act.


Obazee recommended that Emefiele, who is already facing trial for alleged N1.2 billion procurement fraud, should face fresh charges over the CBN naira redesign policy and the preferential forex allocations.


He suggested that the central government should prosecute Tunde Sabiu, a former aide and nephew to former President Muhammadu Buhari, Godwin Emefiele, the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and 12 top directors of the CBN.


Emefiele denied the allegations, describing Obazee’s report as “false, misleading, and calculated to disparage my person, injure my character, and serve the selfish interest of the private investigator.”


The EFCC’s investigation comes as South African billionaire Johann Rupert surpassed Aliko Dangote to become Africa’s wealthiest person, according to Forbes Real-Time Billionaires.


Rupert’s net worth rose to $10.2 billion on Tuesday, while Dangote’s wealth dropped to $9.7 billion, marking a $3.8 billion loss from 2023.


The depreciation of the naira, the devaluation of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, and the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have affected Dangote’s fortune. However, he remains optimistic about his future projects especially the Dangote Refinery.

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