BY COBHAM NSA, ABUJA – The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has given itself a clean bill of health, dismissing media reports of stolen or missing funds from its coffers as skewed and a clear distortion of facts to malign the integrity of the governor, Godwin Emefiele and his management team.
Maintainining that the Governor’s integrity “remains unassailable”, the Bank’s said under his leadership, the CBN has not only promoted but also aggressively pursued transparency in its stewardship as it affects management of public resources and policies’ implementation
The Director of Corporate Communications in the Bank, Mr Isaac Okoroafor, made the refutal while reacting to an article and audio clips that had the CBN Governor and other top officials allegedly discussing discrepancies in the apex bank’s accounts.
Okoroafor, who assured Nigerians that all public funds are safe in the custody of CBN, said it is unfortunate that the audio now in the public space has unfortunately been distorted by mischief makers to create a different impression of the issues being discussed, which was to proffer solutions to a misunderstanding that affected the Bank’s balance sheet.
According to the apex bank’s Spokesman; “As publicly known, the CBN was approached in 2015 by the National Economic Management Team and the National Economic Council chaired by the Vice President, to assist State Governments with Conditional Budget Support.
“This happened in the aftermath of the significant nose-dive in global oil prices and associated FAAC allocations. In order to ensure that ordinary Nigerian 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 per cent with a two-year grace period to 35 States of the Federation.”
Okoroafor explained that; “These monies were distributed to the states monthly with documented approval of the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Presidency”, adding that; “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.”
He further stated that; “The selective conversation being circulated was simply a discussion to ascertain why the auditors took that position and next steps to resolving it. Obviously, it soon became clear that a State Government loan cannot be classified as “bad” or “irrecoverable” when the State still exists and getting FAAC allocations.
“The Bank then reached out to the Federal Ministry of Finance and they jointly gave comfort to the auditors, who accepted in writing that these monies would be repaid.”
The CBN’s image maker said it was “On this basis, the auditors reversed the negative entry and the certified that the CBN’s 2018 accounts were a true reflection of the State of Affairs.”
Okoroafor, who urged Nigerians to disregard the skewed audio material and maintain an unwavering trust in the Emefiele-led management team, said the apex Bank is doing everything possible in the overall public interest and the nation’s economic growth.
He also dismissed as cheap blackmail insinuations that the CBN Governor currently operates foreign accounts, sayjng; “He has no account in Dubai or anywhere in the world and would never convert the funds of CBN for personal use. Not in the past, not now and not ever”
“The use of selective wiretapped conversations of the Bank’s Management, to malign his character and integrity will never stand”, Okoroafor said.
He also promised that; “The Bank will pursue every legal means to bring the perpetrators to justice.” as a deterrent to all those promoting the ignoble trade of blackmailing public officials for selfish gains