Femi Falana, a Nigerian lawyer, has again questioned the management of Nigeria’s foreign reserves by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the leadership of Chukwuma Soludo.
Mr. Falana had petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on allegations of criminal diversion of public funds from the Federation Account and the nation’s Foreign Reserves.
He also accused the CBN under Mr. Soludo of illegally transferring $7 billion to 14 commercial banks in 2006, an allegation the former CBN chief denied and described as laughable.
In denying the allegation, Mr. Soludo said Mr. Falana’s outburst was based on ignorance of how the bank was run. The former CBN chief also demanded an apology.
But in another statement Wednesday, Mr. Falana said the statement issued by the CBN management on the subject matter buttressed his point.
“For the avoidance of doubt, I wish to reiterate that it was the management of the CBN which claimed to have given out its own “share” of 7 billion dollars from the foreign reserves estimated at 38 billion dollars at the material time.
“Is Professor Soludo insisting that CBN under his management was entitled to any ‘share’ of the nation’s foreign reserves?
“In any case, whether it was a deposit or its own share of the foreign reserves, did the CBN ever announce that the deposit had been paid back to the foreign reserves which belong to the three tiers of Government?
“If there is nothing to hide why did the CBN ignore the request of the Civil Society Network Against Corruption for information on the ‘deposit’ of 7 billion dollars?” he said.
“As far as Soludo is concerned, these allegations are laughable and betray a lack of knowledge of how a bank such as CBN works.
“Has AMCON not been set up to recover those loans and deposits running to several trillions of Naira? For goodness sake, how does a CBN work outside the ambit of the Constitution and the Central Bank Act, 2007?,”Falana asked.
“Frankly speaking, I am of the strong view that the demand for an apology by Professor Soludo is a joke since it was the CBN management under him that claimed to have given its own ‘share’ of $7 billion to the 14 banks.”