Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Thursday stormed the headquarters of Dangote Industries Limited in Ikoyi, Lagos, in furtherance of the ongoing investigation into the alleged abuse of the foreign exchange allocations by the immediate past Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele.
The anti-graft commission is probing the alleged preferential allocations of forex to the Dangote Group owned by billionaire Aliko Dangote and 51 other companies under the Emefiele-led CBN.
Two senior officials of the EFCC confirmed the presence of the anti-graft operatives at the Dangote but declined to speak on the reason for their presence.Subsidy Pushed Me Into Robbing Passengers — Lagos E-hailing Driver | Punch
One of the officials said, “I can confirm that our men are there, but I can’t comment on the reason for their presence there.”
Sources said the anti-graft commission had earlier written to the 52 companies directing them to provide documents supporting the allocation and utilisation of foreign exchange sold to them at official rates in the last 10 years.
The EFCC had asked the firms to submit Form A and Form M which detailed the forex allocations to them between 2014 and June 2023.
The official claimed, “The EFCC is investigating the Dangote Group over the preferential foreign exchange allocations made by the former CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele in defiance of extant financial rules and regulations and in disregard to the CBN Act.
“There are about 51 other big companies under probe over the development too, and the commission discovered that the allocations were not approved by the former President Muhammadu Buhari, so it was more of a means for the former CBN governor and his cronies to launder money through forex and Bureau De Change operators.”
When contacted the spokesman for the EFCC, Dele Oyewale, declined comment on the raid on the Dangote headquarters.
Dangote Industries’ spokesperson, Sunday Esan, did not respond to phone calls or WhatsApp messages sent to him.
Two other officials in the communications department of the company, Anthony Chiejina and Francis Browne, have yet to respond to calls and messages sent to them as of the time of filing this report.
Firm Honours Invitation
But a Dangote official claimed the firm had honoured the EFCC’s request and wondered why the commission chose to embarrass them.
He noted, “We don’t know why they (EFCC officials) came to our office again; we had earlier been invited to the office of the EFCC. As such, the Dangote officials took along all the documents and submitted them. We don’t know why they eventually decided to visit out office again.
“The question we are asking is what did they come to take from our office when we had honoured their invitation? They left with empty hands because all the documents they wanted from us had been taken to them. The same EFCC that came to our office is the one giving information to the media that they are investigating us.’’
Before the latest development, Dangote Industries had in November 2023 refuted allegations that it was involved in forex malpractices and money laundering involving a staggering $3.4bn allegedly facilitated by Emefiele.
The conglomerate, a mainstay in Nigeria’s industrial landscape and a significant player in the African economy, denied the claims that the money was funnelled to its non-Nigerian subsidiaries, prompting illicit financial flows and round-tripping.
It Said A Rival Business Group Sponsored The Allegation
In its rebuttal, Dangote Industries referred to past approvals granted by the CBN between 2010 to 2018, allowing it to purchase forex totalling $3.755bn for funding of its projects across Africa, of which only 47.70 per cent was utilised.
The company underscored that forex for its investment undertakings was sourced from the interbank market, with all transactions supported by Letters of Credit in line with international standards.