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Dangote Group Faces EFCC Probe Over Forex Irregularities

TraderKnows
TraderKnows
01-08

Dangote Group is under EFCC investigation regarding potential improper foreign exchange allocations during the tenure of former Central Bank Governor Emefiele.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has summoned several top executives of the Dangote Group to Abuja, requesting detailed documentation on foreign exchange transactions spanning the past nine years. This move is part of an in-depth investigation into allegations of the misuse of forex allocations by former Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele. The anti-corruption agency is probing whether, under Emefiele's leadership, the Central Bank favored Dangote Group and 51 other companies with preferential forex allocations.

Reportedly, during EFCC's surprise visit to Dangote Industries Limited headquarters in Ikeja, Lagos, Dangote was not in Nigeria but in the United States. However, sources reveal that he is expected to return to Nigeria next week to personally address this matter.

An official from EFCC clarified that their objective is not political persecution but to obtain evidence and details regarding government fund allocations. A Dangote Group official also confirmed that key personnel are gathering the requested documents to demonstrate the company's innocence.

Dangote Group officials stated that some requested documents have already been submitted to EFCC headquarters in Abuja. However, they deem EFCC's surprise search of the Lagos office as inappropriate. They assert that the group is a law-abiding entity and is cooperating with the investigation.

Before the surprise search, Dangote Industries Limited denied allegations of forex irregularities and money laundering in November 2023, involving an amount as high as $3.4 billion. The company refuted claims that the money was transferred to its non-Nigerian subsidiaries to avoid illegal financial flows and fund circulation. Dangote emphasized that their investment activities comply with international standards, with all transactions supported by letters of credit.

During the search, agents seized financial documents related to the group's forex allocations from 2014 to June 2023. While Emefiele was suspended by President Bola Tinubu, EFCC requested 51 investigated companies to submit A and M forms detailing their forex allocations from 2014 to June 2023.

Special investigator Jim Obazee reported to the president that Emefiele allegedly illegally held public funds in at least 593 bank accounts in the United States, the United Kingdom, and China without approval from the Central Bank Board and the Central Bank Investment Committee. Obazee found that the former Central Bank governor allegedly stored £543 million illegally in fixed deposits in a UK bank, manipulated the Naira exchange rate, and engaged in fraud in the electronic Naira project.

Emefiele denies these charges, calling Obazee's investigation report "false, misleading, and intended to defame my character, damage my reputation, and serve the selfish interests of private detectives." A senior EFCC official revealed that the agency is investigating Emefiele for alleged violations of current financial rules and regulations, as well as the Central Bank Act, involving preferential forex allocations to Dangote Group and approximately 51 other major companies.

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