• Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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BusinessDay

Ex-CBN deputy gov decries ‘media trial’ of Emefiele

Moghalu picks holes in implementation of Tinubu’s economic reforms

Kingsley Moghalu, a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has decried what he described as a “media trial” of Godwin Emefiele, the country’s ex-top banker who was ousted in June by President Bola Tinubu.

Moghalu, in a post on X Saturday, raised concern about a report purported to be that of the CBN special investigator appointed by Tinubu.

“The ‘report’ has no signature appended, so we can’t assume it is the real and official report. Assuming it is in fact the real report, it’s wrong for such a sensitive report to have ‘leaked’ to the public before the President and his government have reviewed and spoken to it,” he said.

He said the report talks of “chargeable offenses” and mentions specific individuals it recommended to be prosecuted in addition to Emefiele.

“This is a media trial and prejudices the rights of these individuals named or referred to. This is NOT how a report into the Central Bank of Nigeria should be handled,” Moghalu said.

Describing the central bank of any country as a very sensitive institution, he said confidence (or the lack of it) in the institution has practical consequences for Nigeria’s economy.

“As much as the Bank and its leaders ought to be accountable for their official actions, we must consider the continuing damage this kind of sensationalism (which, knowing our country, nothing much is likely to come of it at the end of the day) does to Nigeria’s economy, image, and the institution of the CBN itself,” he said. “When it comes to law, allegations are simply allegations unless and until proven in a court of law.”

On his views on Emefiele’s performance as CBN governor, he said he “is without debate the worst and most damaging central bank governor in Nigeria’s history – incompetent and ill-prepared for the role, and from all available information from his actions, doubtlessly severely integrity-challenged”.

Moghalu cited Emefiele’s performance regarding the stability of the naira exchange rate and inflation, the “brazen illegal” provision of Ways and Means lending to the government, his “illegal” attempt to run for president, and the “incompetent” manner in which the naira redesign policy was handled, and its consequent negative and disastrous impact on Nigeria’s economy.

Wants searchlight beamed on NNPC, others

“While the law should certainly take its course, it is worth noting that an exclusive focus on the CBN as a ‘fight against corruption’ may come to seem more as vendetta than anything else if other sensitive entities such as the NNPC, Nigeria’s national oil company, are not subjected to a similarly vigorous searchlight,” he said.

He pointed out that corruption has robbed
Nigerian of its destiny and impoverished the citizens while enriching “at insane levels” a select few.

“Combating it has to be a holistic affair, not just politically convenient media trials,” he added.

Nigeria’s political leadership culture and governance need a complete overhaul, according to Moghalu.

“The current approach to the matter to Emefiele, who undoubtedly deserves his trial, is not quite the optimal path when placed under close scrutiny,” he said.