• Wednesday, February 21, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

EFCC summons foreign firms in $347bn forex scam probe

Kogi State government denies EFCC charges, accuses commission of political agenda

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is actively investigating the allocation of  at least $347 billion, to various companies in Nigeria within the timeframe spanning January 2014 to June 2023.

Recent revelations indicate an extension of the EFCC’s scrutiny, with its forex allocation probe now encompassing certain foreign firms operating within Nigeria.

Upon analysis of data from the Central Bank of Nigeria, as reported by The PUNCH, it has been revealed that both local and foreign entities operating in Nigeria received a cumulative total of $347.49 billion from the apex bank.

This allocation was aimed at facilitating their foreign exchange needs and meeting financial obligations over the past ten years.

The detailed breakdown of this information is embedded within the sectoral utilisation of the CBN’s forex data, shedding light on how the foreign exchange was allocated and utilised across various sectors and industries within the nation’s economy.

This development occurs against the backdrop of the EFCC’s ongoing investigation into forex allocations, particularly those directed towards Dangote Group and 51 other companies during the tenure of the immediate past Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele.

Notably, Dangote Industries, a conglomerate implicated in forex malpractices amounting to $3.4 billion, has strongly denied these allegations.

In November 2023, the conglomerate rejected claims that the funds were funneled to its non-Nigerian subsidiaries, resulting in illicit financial flows and round-tripping.

Dangote cited CBN approvals from 2010–2018, permitting $3.76 billion forex for African projects; 47.70 percent utilised, sourced from interbank market with Letters of Credit.

In response to the ongoing investigation, Dangote Group has promised to work with the anti-graft agency.

The firm said, “We remain committed to providing the EFCC with all necessary information and cooperation.”

As per reports, some companies affected by EFCC’s directive have complied, while others sought time to gather the necessary documents.

Following the raid on Dangote Group, EFCC has written to over 85 entities, including corporate organisations and individuals, for an ongoing investigation into alleged fraudulent foreign exchange allocations under Emefiele.

Unconfirmed reports suggest Emefiele may face amended charges based on ongoing discoveries.

EFCC has summoned senior officials of the entities, seeking detailed foreign exchange transaction documents for the last 10 years.

The probe includes foreign firms like Crane Currency Limited, Gleseck+Deverint GmbH, De La Rue Ltd, Oberthur Fiduclaire SAS, and Orelll Fussli. The investigation expands amidst the forex scarcity impacting Nigeria’s economy.

The information was outlined in an internal memorandum from the anti-graft agency, signed by the Director of Operations, Hadiza Junaidu. The memo, titled ‘Request for Information,’ bears reference number CB:4000/EFCC/DOPS/VOL.28/104, and is dated December 21, 2023.

The memo read in part, “I am directed to request that you check the records of cases referred to your respective commands/sections for investigation and confirm whether the under mentioned foreign companies has/is being investigated for import/export violations or any other offence.

“i. Crane Currency Limited ii. Gleseck+Deverint GmbH iii. De La Rue Ltd iv. Oberthur Fiduciaire SAS v. Orelll Fussli”