President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been presented with a petition concerning Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the wealthiest individual in Africa. The petition raises concerns about an alleged misappropriation of $3.4 billion through the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The document, dated August 18, 2023, bore the title ‘Petition To President Tinubu Against Dangote.’ It was also sent to Jim Obazee, who, following his recent appointment by the President, is tasked with investigating the Central Bank of Nigeria and its affiliated entities.
The petition alleged that Dangote had repeatedly and significantly breached the Forex Guidelines of the CBN over a span of years.
The petition claimed that the then-suspended CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, obtained a $1 billion loan from Afrexim Bank during the second quarter of 2023. From this amount, $750 million was purportedly channeled to Dangote at a preferential rate in what was described as an unauthorized manner.
Tinubu asked to begin an investigation
Consequently, it implored the President to initiate an investigation into the “blatant breaches of our financial regulations.”
It reads, “I bring to your attention a scandalous issue of gross financial misconduct and illegality involving the Dangote Group – a flagrant abuse of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) forex guidelines for the past 10 years.
The petition highlighted a bold violation of CBN guidelines, resulting in a USD 3.4 billion deviation from Nigeria’s national funds. This was achieved through rates significantly lower than the prevailing exchange rates (150 to 200 USD) when the parallel rate was much higher. This financial manipulation continues to pose a threat to the nation’s economic stability.
Remarkably, this illicit diversion was executed using Form A, bypassing the proper procedure of Form M. This choice not only constitutes a severe legal breach but also denies the country any financial benefits.
The sheer boldness of these financial wrongdoings is underscored by multiple implicated banks that have knowingly approved substantial sums for the Dangote Group at the CBN rate. This directly contradicts the CBN’s directive to acquire funds from the parallel or interbank market.
These unethical practices facilitated the unlawful movement of funds under the pretense of foreign investments, including purported factory construction in nations like Congo and Liberia.
Claims of diverted funds sent to Dangote
As per the petitioner, funds were transferred from Nigeria with the purported intention of supporting industrial progress in other countries, causing Nigeria to miss out on vital investments. Alarmingly, there are instances, notably in Liberia, where pledged factories were never established. Instead, the diverted funds were allegedly sent to Dangote’s overseas accounts through the misuse of Form A, resulting in untraceable illicit financial transactions.
The petition pointed out that the permissions requested from the central bank explicitly indicated that the funds requested by Dangote should be acquired from the Interbank market, meaning funds external to the CBN. Nevertheless, there was a contradiction as the funds were procured and moved from the national treasury within the CBN, an action deemed unlawful.
Over a consistent span of years and contrary to the granted approvals, Emefiele’s CBN persistently and unlawfully provided funds from Nigeria’s treasury to the Dangote Group at reduced rates.
Petition’s prayer for addressing this legal breach
The petition stressed the necessity of rectifying this legal violation. For instance, in 2015, a transfer of over 341 million was executed through telegraphic transfer (ECOBANK) using Form A number AA2541751. This action contradicted CBN directives that interbank funds should solely be utilized for the Dangote Project in Cameroon.
Similarly, on February 12, 2016, Form A number AA2649626 was employed to transfer more than 420 million for spare parts in Congo, once again in defiance of CBN directives.
To underscore the audacity of these deeds, recent revelations have unveiled that the suspended CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, borrowed 1 billion USD from Afrexim Bank during the second quarter of 2023. Shockingly, 750 million USD of this sum was illicitly directed to Dangote at a preferential rate.
These funds were subsequently moved to Dangote’s overseas account, mirroring previous instances.
A call for Tinubu’s immediate response
The petition also reads to the president that swift action is desperately needed to rectify these glaring injustices and provide a comprehensive and immediate investigation into these flagrant violations of our financial law.
Also beseeching the president to take steps to ensure the restitution of these misappropriated funds, utilizing them to enhance the nation’s welfare as enforcement is pivotal not only to discourage future transgressions but also to underscore the principles of accountability and transparency that define your administration.
Also stated, the enforcement is pivotal not only to discourage future transgressions but also to underscore the principles of accountability and transparency that define your administration.
The petition also states, “We enjoin you to direct the EFCC, ICPC, DSS, and other relevant security agencies to investigate these illegal acts against our economy and ensure these funds are returned.
“The time for a new era has come an era where the rule of law supersedes illicit privileges, and economic justice becomes our national cornerstone. By addressing this issue decisively, you will send a powerful message that corruption, in all its forms, will no longer be tolerated in our country,” the petition says.
In today’s fast-paced world, technology is advancing at a lightning pace, and the au…