Analyst commends Tinubu on financial reforms

President Bola Tinubu

Richard Elesho

A public affairs analyst, Gbenga Ibrahim, has commended President Bola Tinubu for the ongoing reforms aimed at strengthening accountability in the financial sector and warned the public against criticising Bala Bello, a top CBN staff and other executioners of the reforms.

Ibrahim, in a piece made available to the media at the weekend, noted that the reforms that necessitated the probe of former CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele has led to the discovery of mind-boggling heist in the apex bank. He said the Jim Obazee led special investigation team is a significant step in the war against corruption.

The analyst attributed the current misinformation and criticisms trailing the reforms as a fight back from corruption. His piece:

“Emefiele’s situation is believed to be linked to actions taken during his tenure, and President Tinubu is committed to ensuring the CBN operates free from corrupt practices. Instead of targeting capable hands like Bala Bello, critics should address the president’s efforts directly.

“Bala Bello is an experienced and competent professional. Though I have never met the governor or his deputies, inside sources confirmed that Bello is a very diligent , meticulous, and analytical person. One staff member even described him as a workaholic and straight forward. The source added that most times, he is the first to come to the office and last to leave in the CBN management team led by Yemi Cardoso. He rose through the ranks to become deputy governor, corporate services, a position requiring rigorous security checks and scrutiny. It’s unfair to blame him for implementing recommendations from the special investigation counsel appointed by the president.

“The success at the CBN is a result of teamwork, compliance with APEX Bank policy, and a capable team following the CBN hierarchy. President Tinubu mandated Mr. Obazee to produce a comprehensive report on public funds held by corrupt individuals and entities. The report exposed 593 unauthorized bank accounts in the US, UK, and China and revealed billions of naira stolen from CBN accounts. It also recommended prosecuting Mr. Emefiele and 13 others for alleged financial misconduct.

“The report further exposed the controversial Naira redesign, which stifled production and led to chaos in October 2022, as a conspiracy against the Nigerian people and political class by the then CBN Governor and one of the erstwhile CBN Deputy Governors. Blaming Bala Bello for doing his job is outrageous, malicious, and unthinkable.

“Those who benefited from corrupt practices in CBN are trying to frustrate the ongoing repositioning and cleansing by hiring American-based bloggers to target dedicated staff like Bala Bello. The Federal High Court in Lagos has granted the Federal Government an order of interim forfeiture of property valued at N11,140,000,000.00 linked to Emefiele, further justifying President Tinubu’s efforts to ensure a corrupt-free CBN.

“Another mind-blowing discovery is $4.6 billion charges leveled against Emefiele, equivalent to N7 trillion Naira, in addition to the $6.2 million fraudulently withdrawn from the CBN account in 2023 in the name of logistics to foreign observers, done by forging the signature of the then president Mohammadu Buhari. Sources confirm that some staff involved have returned over $1 million to the CBN with confessional statements, and many CBN staff are ready to testify against Emefele, including a former Director of Information Technology, John Ayoh, who admitted to collecting $600,000 on behalf of Emefiele from contractor. It is also on court record and public records how Mr Monday Osazuwa, who is not ready to follow Emefele to prison, admitted to have collected $3 million cash in tranches for Emefele. It is also in public knowledge that Zenith Bank, the Bank Emefele left as CEO to CBN as Governor on 28th November, 2023 A Compliance Officer at Zenith Bank, Remigious Ugwu, testified in court about a series of large transactions involving the CBN and April1616 Investment Limited. He revealed that the CBN made several payments to the company, including:

“- N39,060,465 on October 19, 2020

– N421,953,488 on November 6, 2020

– N304,883,720 on November 23, 2020

– N304,883,720 on January 1, 2021

– N304,883,720 on March 23, 2021

“These transactions totalled over 1.4 billion naira and were paid by the CBN to April1616 Investment Limited, over a period of five months. The purpose and legitimacy of these payments were not disclosed in the provided information.

“Nuhu Ribadu, the former chairman of the EFCC, once said, “If you fight corruption, it fights back.” Attacking Bala Bello is a clear case of corruption fighting back. We must support the ongoing efforts to reposition the CBN and ensure that those determined to do the right thing are not frustrated by corrupt individuals and entities.”