Sahara Reporters is at it again with another taped conversation involving the CBN. This is the same Sahara reporters owned by Omoyele Sowore, who ran for President in 2019 on the platform of the African Action Congress and famously won only his polling unit in his home state of Ondo.
They allege that the voices on the tape, belong to the CBN (Central bank) governor Godwin “Meffy” Emefiele (who was just reappointed to another 5-year term by President Buhari), deputy governor, Edward Adamu, director of finance Dayo Arowosegbe and special adviser to the governor, Emmanuel Ukeji. They talked about covering up stolen funds to the tune of N500 billion. Claiming they had invested in private businesses that had flopped like the critical reception to AY’s “A Trip to Jaimaca.”
Does the tape reveal this? Listen to it here
While the CBN governor does sound worried (especially at minute 6:40 where he sounds like he has a future career in Nollywood), there is no mention of N500 billion or any private businesses flopping. The tape also starts right in the middle of the phone conversation so context is difficult to establish. Even though the tape lacks the evidence to support the allegation, the CBN quickly put out a press release (on a SUNDAY! Look at the Government efficiency!) disputing the allegation.
Here is the CBN’s explanation in its press release
“As publicly known the CBN was approached in 2015 by the National Economic
Management Team and the National Economic Council (NEC), chaired by the Vice
President, to assist State Governments with Conditional Budget Support, in the
aftermath of the significant nose-dive in global oil prices and associated FAAC
allocations. In order to ensure that ordinary Nigerians workers got their salaries,
pensions and gratuities, and that the economy continued to recover from
recession, the Bank provided about N650 billion in loans at 9% with a two-year
grace period to 35 States of the Federation. These monies were distributed to
the States monthly with documented approval of the Federal Ministry of Finance
and the Presidency.
In closing the Bank’s 2018 accounts, external auditors in their Draft Account,
erroneously classified about N150 billion of these loans as bad, which negatively
affected the Bank’s Balance Sheet and shareholders fund. The selective
conversation being circulated was simply a discussion to ascertain why the
auditors took that position and next steps to resolving it.”
Translation: Oil prices crashed, Nigeria didn’t have money to meet her obligations. So the CBN loaned N650 billion to 35 states to keep them afloat. Auditors determined that N150 billion of that N650bn could not be paid back and that’s what the phone conversation was about.
So who do we believe? We’re more inclined to believe the CBN but totally understand those that prefer to believe Sahara Reporters. Why? Lack of transparency. This is still one of Nigeria’s major problems. The CBN is a prime example. The govt body has not released its financial statements since 2015. Take a look at the screenshot below
The irony of this is the Nigerian stock exchange has a penalty for publicly traded companies that don’t file their financials on time. The headline below is from February of this year, when the NSE fined 38 firms N429 million for late filing of financial statements.
It’s no surprise that wild allegations and conspiracy theories will form in a country where government agencies aren’t straight with people.
Keep on talking and let us know who you believe!