Forex allocations: DSS summons Emefiele, CBN Board members, 27 bank CEOs

…all to appear today at secret police headquarters for questioning on individual role in forex allocations
. But CBN Gov may shun invitation
. Met bank MDs in Abuja last Saturday to “strategise” on DSS’ summon

Department of State Services over the weekend summoned the embattled Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele, the other 10 members of the apex bank’s Board of Directors, including the four deputy governors and six non-Executive Directors as well as Chief Executive Officers/Managing Directors of 27 commercial banks in the country.

They are all to appear before the DSS today (Monday) to answer further questions on forex allocations from 2017 to date.

Emefiele, as the Chairman of the apex bank’s Board of Directors, is expected to lead other members of the Board to the DSS headquarters in Abuja today.

The CBN Board of Directors is statutorily empowered to deliberate and approve forex allocations based on requests, before disbursement.

However, DSS’ probe of the forex allocations, it was gathered was necessitated by the shocking discovery that forex allocations meant for particularly people in business and investments were not getting to those who really needed and applied for it, but have been ending up in the pockets of few privileged, influential and highly placed individuals, including Presidency officials and their acolytes.

It was gathered that preliminary report on forex allocations in the past six years under Emefiele as CBN Gov “is very shocking,” and according to a reliable source, “Nigerians as well as the international community will be surprised at what has been discovered.”

However, First News gathered that the CBN Gov may not honour the DSS invitation and may not visit the secret police headquarters along with the other directors of the apex bank and the commercial bank CEOs today.

Recall that last Wednesday, Emefiele, through a Civil Society Organisation, Forum for Accountability and Good Leadership, obtained a nocturnal fresh court injunction from a Federal Capital Territory High Court restraining the DSS from questioning and obtaining any information from CBN officials and the CEOs of the 27 commercial banks regarding Foreign Exchange allocations from 2017 to date. First News obtained a copy of the court order granted by the Presiding Judge, Justice SB Belgore, who adjourned hearing of the motion on notice on the matter till January 25.

The embattled CBN Gov’s major reason for rushing to court at night last Wednesday, First News learnt, was to stop the commercial banks from releasing the details about forex allocations to the DSS.

But unknown to him, the DSS had, before the court granted the order, questioned and obtained documentary evidence from his deputies at CBN as well as from the 27 bank CEOs on forex allocations in the past six years, as several of the banks had also fully complied with the DSS’ request before the Wednesday night injunction was granted by Justice Belgore.

Following his discovery that most of the commercial banks had complied with the DSS’ request on information concerning the matter, apprehensive Emefiele summoned the banks’ MDs to Abuja for a “crucial meeting” last Saturday, where he “strategised” with them on how to deal with today’s invitation by the secret police.

At the Abuja meeting, First News reliably learnt, it was resolved that the remaining commercial banks that had yet to comply with the DSS’ request for information on forex allocations should “doctor their reports.”

First News further learnt from reliable sources that at today’s meeting with the DSS, the CBN officials and bank CEOs are to shed more light on the approvals of forex allocations to beneficiaries from 2017 to date.

They are also to submit the list of individuals and corporate organisations that have benefitted from the forex allocations so far.

The bank CEOs, it was further gathered, are also to supply the DSS a schedule of the investors and export window foreign exchange allocated to their individual banks from 2017 to date.

The commercial banks are to break the schedule into the amount of forex allocations given to them, list the name of the individual customer/or beneficiary and their purpose/criteria for getting the allocation.

They are also to supply the DSS the name of the authorised persons who allocated the forex and confirm whether it’s the CBN or the commercial banks themselves.

The commercial banks are also to give the secret police summary of the top 50 customers allocated the highest amount of forex and their order of importance.

Recall that the DSS had recently accused Emefiele of allegedly aiding and abetting terrorism, insisting that the CBN Gov must be prosecuted for the alleged crimes.

According to the secret police, preliminary investigations revealed Emefiele’s involvement in various acts of terrorism financing, fraudulent activities and economic crimes of national security dimension.

But the embattled CBN boss has continued to employ all means to escape arrest and interrogation by the DSS. He recently delayed his return to Nigeria after a trip abroad. He was also said to have engaged some close associates of President Buhari to help him prevail on the DSS to let him off the hook. The CBN governor is also alleged to have been employing propaganda through organised public protests and demonstrations by CSOs, all in a bid to stop his investigations by the DSS.

A nephew and close confidant of President Buhari, Mamman Daura and Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai are said to be the arrowheads of the highly influential and powerful politicians pressuring the DSS DG, Yusuf Bichi to let go of Emefiele, resulting in the inability of the secret police to interrogate the apex bank boss on the allegations leveled against him.

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