…Many NIRSAL, NSPMC, NIBSS executives undergo interrogation
No fewer than 20 persons with links to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and its immediate past governor, Godwin Emefiele, have so far been questioned by the special investigators appointed by President Bola Tinubu to probe the apex bank, The Nation can now confirm.
Among those interrogated were the four deputy governors of the apex bank, some directors and some drivers including Emefiele’s, sources said yesterday.
According to one of the sources, the drivers were interviewed because “they were the ones who carried the big men around.”
The sources added: “Many directors, especially the ones directly under the deputy governors, were interviewed.
“They have also invited officials of the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC) and those in charge of all those intervention programmes were also invited.”
Some officials of NIRSAL Microfinance Bank (NMFB), Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS), were similarly summoned.
The special investigators paid a quiet visit to the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL Plc) on Friday in furtherance of their assignment.
But no arrest was made on that occasion, it was gathered.
Sources also said Shuaib Ahmed, the Executive Secretary of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC), and his deputy, Iheanyi Anyahara, were invited to appear before the panel in connection with the preparation of the CBN audited financial statements from 2016 to 2022.
One source said: “Some of those summoned are detained till the following day if their interrogation takes longer than anticipated or if they need some documents from their office and they did not bring them along. They will be detained while they send for the documents.
“Also if they are interrogating someone and he is being linked with someone else, the person is kept there till they invite the other person, and they will be interrogated separately.
“We can’t put a number to those invited yet. Let’s just say close to 20 have been invited.
The special investigator’s invitation may also be extended to retired directors.
“Any director who has retired and has anything to do with the case will be invited. Even board members who have retired can be invited,” the source added.
A parallel investigation of the CBN is being carried out by the Department of State Services (DSS) under the inter-agency committee.
It was the inter-agency committee that detained deputy governors Aisha Ahmad and Kingsley Obiora.
Continuing, the source said: “The DSS investigative team is different from Obaze’s team.
“What I don’t understand is where they submit their own report. Or do they just want to keep it for their own (inter agency) information since it is not stated anywhere who ordered them to do that.
“Everybody knows Obaze’s team gets its directives from the President.”
President Tinubu, in a July 28, 2023 letter, appointed Obaze, the founding Executive Secretary of the FRC, to probe the activities of the apex bank and its related entities.
He is looking into the books of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Ltd (NNPCL), the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and other government business entities, which the President, in the letter he personally signed, said was in continuation of government’s anti-corruption fight.
The letter reads: “In accordance with the fundamental objectives set forth in section 15(5) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), this administration is, today, continuing the fight against corruption by appointing you as a Special Investigator, to investigate the CBN and related entities.
“This appointment shall be with immediate effect and you are to report directly to my office.”