President Buhari’s Moment – CBN Confirms Authenticity of the Leaked Audio of N500 Billion Private Investment by CBN Chiefs

President Buhari’s Moment – CBN Confirms Authenticity of the Leaked Audio of N500 Billion Private Investment by CBN Chiefs

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has met with President Muhammadu Buhari. The meeting occurs in the midst of a real paralysis wherein the bank boss was heard discussing with pals about a business deal gone bad.

The Central Bank of Nigeria on Sunday admitted the audio conversation between governor of the central bank, Godwin Emefiele, deputy governor, Edward Adamu, director of finance Dayo Arowosegbe and special adviser to the governor, Emmanuel Ukeji while they were discussing how to cover up N500 billion Naira which they had invested in a private business that ran aground.

The CBN had denied that it lost over N500 billion in a private investment. Yet, in a statement by its spokesperson, Isaac Okorafor, admitted the audio was authentic but said they were “selective” audio-mesh.  You can read the full transcripts here with the audio. The CBN statement is here.

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. 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.

I am reporting this now that CBN had admitted the authenticity of the audio. That opens a new level of investigation on what is going on in the apex bank. Are people using the treasury of Nigeria to play poker – and make money doing so? I just hope this is all fake news. If not, as CBN is making this seem via confirming the authenticity of this conversation, we are in real trouble.

My recommendation remains: no company on earth can be an advisory firm and also an auditing firm. Advisory and Auditing businesses should be independent companies, not just divisions or units within one company – either you do advisory or you do auditing. That way we can reduce conflicts.

I am not an accountant and please bear with me for my perspective on this. But I have seen things that make me sad. In Nigeria, we need to ensure that any company offering Auditing services cannot sell Advisory services besides audit!  Simply, all auditing firms must do only one thing – auditing.

It is foolishness to expect a company that just won a consulting business from a bank on technology transformation to also audit the same bank when its projects are part of the auditing targets. The expectation that the consultant’s audit and technology units are sequestered in their internal operations is an illusion. Nigeria needs to fix this loophole as our professional maturity is still at infancy.

I am troubled on what I am learning from the CBN’s leaked audio. Those books were audited and certified fine! But when the same guy auditing you is asking for advisory business on technology services, independence goes away. You do not allow that in electronic design – you make sure signals have their clear paths, uncorrupted by noise. Lumping advisory and auditing services under one firm is evil and it corrupts!

If we begin to doubt the books of the Central Bank of Nigeria, it means we have no nation! Mr. President, this is your moment to lead – urgently.

CBN Press Release (120519)

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