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Emiefele: Panic at CBN, NIRSAL as investigators swing into action

There is panic and apprehension within the top hierarchy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as the team deployed to support the Special Investigator…

There is panic and apprehension within the top hierarchy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as the team deployed to support the Special Investigator appointed by President Bola Tinubu to probe the activities of the apex bank and related entities commences intelligence findings, Daily Trust reports.

Recall that sequel to the sacking and subsequent arrest of Godwin Emiefele, Tinubu had appointed Jim Obazee as a Special Investigator to probe the activities of the CBN and other related entities.

In a letter dated July 28, Tinubu said the appointment of Obazee, relying on the fundamental objective outlined in Section 15(5) of the Nigerian Constitution, was in furtherance of his administration’s anti-corruption fight.

The appointment of Obazee, who was the chief executive officer of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) until 2017, was with immediate effect even as he was asked to report directly to the president.

Daily Trust gathered that following his appointment, the Special Investigator in a letter dated August 18 wrote to the Inspector General of Police requesting for the deployment of four senior officers to his office to facilitate the smooth take-off and execution of his assignment.

In response, the IGP conveyed approval in a letter dated September 6 and signed on his behalf by CP Abaniwonda S. Olufemi. The letter titled, ‘Deployment of Police Personnel’ with reference numberTH:5361/FS/FHQ/ABJ/T.5/428, listed the deployed officers as DCP Eloho Edwin Okpoziakpo; CSP Celestine Odo; CSP Segun Aderoju and DSP Tijani A. Bako.

It was gathered that startling preliminary intelligence by the investigator’s team headed by DCP Eloho Edwin Okpoziakpo is already sending jitters down the spines of top management staff of the CBN and the Nigerian Incentive Risk Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL).

Among other intelligence DCP Eloho and his team are said to have developed is that on NIRSAL and the Anchor Borrowers Programme which have over the years been at the centre of investigations.

President Tinubu recently gave a marching order that all funds allocated to these agricultural programmes be recovered.

Daily Trust had investigated multiple corruption allegations that rocked NIRSAL under the former Managing Director, Aliyu Abbati Abdulhameed, who was fired by ex-President Muhammadu Buhari in December last year.

It was further gathered that the investigators are also set to unravel how the Anchor Borrowers Funds were being kept as fixed deposits by parties close to the embattled CBN governor.

An insider confided in Daily Trust that some of the individuals involved in the fixed deposits (names withheld) are currently in panic mode, including an aide of the ex-CBN governor who is said to have operated a total of 61 bank accounts that included 44 fixed deposit accounts and 2 treasury bills accounts.

Apart from investigating the N5.6 billion wheat project scandal in Kano and Jigawa states, a source confided in Daily Trust that the investigators would also probe the alleged allocation of about 600,000 monthly for the upkeep of the former MD’s dogs.

Why IGP opted for DCP Eloho

The IGP is said to have nominated a renowned investigator, Eloho Edwin Okpoziokpo, as head of the Special Investigator’s support team as part of his desire to overhaul the Nigeria Police Force and boost President Tinubu’s fight against corruption and economic sabotage.

It is widely believed that DCP Eloho is a thoroughbred investigator within the police force who worked under the IGP when he was DIG FCIID. It was there that the IGP identified Eloho’s capacity and penchant for a thorough investigation.

Sources within the Nigeria Police Force said Eloho, whose work as an investigator spans over 20 years at the top level of investigations, holds a degree in Psychology and a masters in International Law and Diplomacy with hands-on-deck experience in Economic, Financial, Cybercrime, and other white collar crime investigations.

DCP Eloho is said to have started his investigative journey at the state level with the FCT Police Command where he headed the Commissioner’s Monitoring Unit between 2005 and 2008. In this position, the CP referred matters of importance directly to him and he was always asked to take over the most difficult investigations from other sections.

At the national level, he worked at the Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU), Ikoyi, Lagos, and Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) in 2008 where he was appointed to head several sensitive sections after being a part of the General Investigation Section of the unit.

The sections he headed include the Cybercrime Section, Assets Fraud Section, Bank Fraud Section, and the Anti-Money Laundering Section.

Currently in charge of the Counter Intelligence Unit (CIU) of the Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB) having previously been in charge of the Bureau’s Cryptography & Cybercrime Unit (CCU), Eloho served in various investigative capacities both at the state command levels and the Force Headquarters (FCIID) level.

He was the pioneer head of a unit that was created at the request of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in conjunction with the Nigeria Electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF), with the major aim to assist the Nigeria financial sector in the investigation of e-Payment and Card Crimes.

He is currently the head of a new unit; Counter Intelligence Unit (CIU – FIB) as its pioneer head. It is a general counter Intelligence Unit under the Force Intelligence Bureau but with a focus on economic crimes with transnational links.

DCP Eloho is said to be presently developing intelligence on economic crimes being committed against the country by oil companies that have allegedly stolen crude oil worth several billions of dollars. One of such oil companies alone is said to have, in collusion with some top government officials, stolen crude worth over $3 billion.

Destruction of files, and records at NIRSAL

Daily Trust gathered that the intelligence being developed by DCP Eloho and his team which is said to be causing sleepless nights to the top management at the CBN and NIRSAL has to do with the investigation of some contracts at NIRSAL, as well as the Anchor Borrowers Programme by the Inspector General of Police.

This is said to have led to the destruction of office files and records to scuttle the ongoing investigation of NIRSAL by DCP Eloho and his team. Sources familiar with the investigation said among the destroyed office documents is a contract for the development of the ICT Policy.

“Although financial trails show payments made multiple times for the same contract, the record of this contract has disappeared from NIRSAL’s procurement department,” an insider who wouldn’t want his name mentioned said.

Another source told Daily Trust that unless the investigation team deploys ways and means of obtaining the necessary contract records and documents, they may have hitches getting into the root of the matter.

Contacted by telephone, the Head of Procurement at NIRSAL, Sheriff Salaudeen, said the organisation does not destroy its files or other records.

He, however, declined further comments, insisting that he would only do so if a written request is communicated to NIRSAL.

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