The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has called upon Dangote Group officials to provide detailed documents related to forex transactions spanning nine years. The move comes as part of an investigation into alleged forex allocation improprieties during the tenure of former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele.
In a recent operation, EFCC operatives visited the group’s Lagos headquarters, seizing certain crucial documents relevant to their ongoing inquiry into Emefiele’s suspected misuse of power in forex allocation. However, unsatisfied with the content of the confiscated documents, the anti-graft agency has decided to summon top officials of the company to appear at its Abuja headquarters on Tuesday, along with the necessary documents.
Dangote, who is currently in the United States, is planning to return next week to personally address the issue, as confirmed by a company official. The EFCC’s move signals a determined effort to thoroughly investigate the allegations and seek clarity on the matter.
It was reported that a highly placed EFCC official said senior executives of the company had been mandated to supply the commission with what he called “detailed and unambiguous documents on the demands by the commission.”
It was gathered that the officials would be expected at the agency’s office on Tuesday.
“Yes, they (Dangote officials) asked for time to enable them to get all the necessary documents, which was granted. The idea is not to be seen to be witch-hunting anyone. What the commission wants is to get evidence and details of how government funds were allocated, and that is all,” the EFCC official said.
An official from Dangote Group confirmed they’re gathering all the requested documents for the EFCC, aiming to demonstrate the company’s innocence.
The official said that despite sending documents and staff to EFCC’s Abuja office, they were surprised by the agency’s visit to their Lagos office.
The official who spoke to Punch said, “Yes, we were aware of the ongoing investigation by the EFCC, and our people were at the headquarters in Abuja with some of the requested documents as of the time its operatives invaded our Lagos office in what I will describe as a show-off.
“We are a law-abiding group, but it is difficult to get all the documents covering the tenure of Emefiele at once, but our people are working at night to get all the relevant documents, which will be sent to the anti-graft agency next week.”
Dangote refuted prior forex malpractice allegations, asserting legitimate investment practices.
The raid, lasting hours, saw documents taken from 2014 to June 2023. The commission demanded forex-related forms from 51 firms, investigating Emefiele’s alleged forex irregularities.
Emefiele had last week refuted the allegations in an investigation report as “false and damaging.”
The EFCC probes the alleged preferential forex allocations as potentially violating financial regulations and the CBN Act, implicating Emefiele and other companies.
The Dangote Group, while refuting allegations of forex malpractices and money laundering, denied the money channelled to non-Nigerian subsidiaries.
The raid at their headquarters saw financial documents related to forex allocations seized.
The investigation involves alleged actions by Emefiele involving public funds in foreign accounts without approval, leading to recommendations for fresh charges.
Emefiele denies these accusations. The EFCC is investigating preferential forex allocations made by Emefiele, involving not only Dangote but 51 other companies.