EFCC to Re-open Soludo’s Alleged Bribery Case
A top operative of the Nigerian anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has told our Correspondent that investigation into Soludo’s alleged N750 million bribery scam has been re-opened. It would be recalled that the former CBN governor was a guest of the anti-sleaze bursters, a few months after the end of his tenure in 2009. “He was a guest of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, over his role in the Australian polymer banknotes N750 million ($5 million US Dollars) bribery scam that occurred between 2006 and 2008 when he was in office.”
A top official of the agency in a telephone chat with our Correspondent from Abuja on stated that the decision to revisit the former CBN governor’s case was because of new discoveries made by the agency in the course of investigation of a different matter at the Central Bank of Nigeria.
He stressed that the former CBN governor who handed over to the present Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, only by and large made Sanusi a hero, after the latter was able to correct all the wrongs and maleficence in the banking sector.
However, the spokesperson of EFCC, Wilson Uwagiaren, in telephone chat with our Correspondent, refused to confirm or deny the move by the agency to reopen Soludo’s case. “I cannot comment on such issue. Everybody knows that the former CBN governor was under investigation by EFCC. I cannot say whether his case has been re-opened or not.”
The Federal Government has also described the five years tenure of Prof Chukuwma Soludo as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria as a failure and a disaster to the banking sector.
Soludo, who was the apex bank governor between May 2004 and May 2009, had on Monday, January 26 written an article where he claimed that the Nigerian economy under President Goodluck Jonathan had performed woefully.
The Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala while reacting to Soludo’s uncanny critique of Nigerian’s economy in a statement , said through her Special Adviser on Communications, Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu , that Soludo through his article has committed what she described as “intellectual harakiri.”
The Minister noted that not only was the article littered with abusive and unbecoming language, it shows Soludo, whom she described as an “embittered loser in the Nigerian political space” can get so derailed by misquoting economic facts and maliciously turning statistics on their head to justify a hatchet job.”
She said, “It is a sad day for Nigeria and the economics profession that someone like Soludo, a former CBN governor should write such an article.
“If Soludo wants to regain respect, he should return to the path of professionalism. He certainly needs something to improve his image from that of someone whose sojourn into National Economic Management ended in disaster for the banking sector.
“His sojourn in politics, ended in overwhelming rejection by the electorate, and more recently, his sojourn abroad, has put him out of touch with the reality of the Nigerian economy.”
Okonjo-Iweala while supporting her argument with statistics noted that the banking sector was practically brought to its knees and required a massive bailout by Nigerian tax payers during the tenure of Soludo.
The minister claimed that Soludo singlehandedly mismanaged the banking sector which led to the accumulation of huge toxic assets thus paralysing the banking sector during the period of the global financial crisis. The liabilities of the banking sector according to the minister, cost Nigerian taxpayers the sum of N5.67tn to clean up the books of the banks.
This bailout which according to her was done by his successor (now Emir of Kano), Lamido Sanusi, cleaned up all the bad debts and transferred them to the newly-established AMCON, from where they are being currently managed.
She said, “There is definitely an issue of character with Prof. Charles Soludo and his desperate search for power and relevance in Nigeria.
“So much of what is written is outright nonsense and self-seeking aggrandizement that need not be dignified with a response.
It is totally remarkable that Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, the man who presided over the worst mismanagement of Nigeria’s banking sector as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria between May 2004 and May 2009, can write about the mismanagement of the economy.”
“The consolidation of the banking sector was a good policy idea of the (Olusegun) Obasanjo administration but Soludo went on to thoroughly mismanage its implementation leading to the worst financial crisis in Nigeria’s history.”
“So what did Soludo do? After consolidation, the regulatory functions of the Soludo-led CBN were very poorly exercised. As Governor, he failed to adequately supervise and regulate the now larger banks – an anomaly in Financial Sector Supervision.
“In fact as every Nigerian knows, in his time there was very little separation between the regulators and the regulated which is a violation of a key requirement of Central banking success.