In a major development, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) carried out a raid on the headquarters of Dangote Industries Limited in Lagos, part of its ongoing investigation into alleged abuse of forex allocations by the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele.
The anti-graft agency is scrutinizing the preferential allocations of forex to the Dangote Group and 51 other companies during Emefiele’s tenure at the CBN. The surprise operation, conducted during working hours, shocked employees and visitors, lasting several hours and resulting in the confiscation of financial documents related to forex allocations from 2014 to June 2023.
The EFCC had earlier directed the 52 companies, including Dangote Group, to submit documents supporting forex allocations over the past decade. While some companies complied, others requested additional time to gather the required information.
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Meanwhile, the EFCC’s investigation into forex allocations is part of a broader probe into financial irregularities during Emefiele’s tenure. The commission alleges that preferential forex allocations were made in violation of financial regulations and the CBN Act. Emefiele, facing various accusations, denies the charges, dismissing the investigation report as “false, misleading, and calculated to disparage my person.”
As the EFCC conducts its operation, South African billionaire Johann Rupert has surpassed Aliko Dangote as Africa’s wealthiest person, according to Forbes Real-Time Billionaires. Dangote’s wealth reportedly decreased from $13.5 billion in 2023 to $9.7 billion as of January 4, 2024, resulting in a $3.8 billion loss. Forbes attributes this change to financial fluctuations and market dynamics.
The EFCC’s tactics have raised concerns, with critics suggesting that such actions could deter foreign investors. Dangote Industries, a significant player in Africa’s economy, previously refuted allegations of forex malpractices and money laundering, asserting that the claims were sponsored by a rival business group.
In response to the EFCC’s raid, a Dangote official stated that the company had already submitted the requested documents and questioned the necessity of the operation. The official emphasized the company’s cooperation with the EFCC and expressed frustration at the commission’s handling of the situation.