By Racheal Ishaya
There is no money missing or stolen from the Central Bank of Nigeria’s coffers as reported in some section of the media, the bank’s spokesman Isaac Okoroafor said.
Okoroafor, the Director Corporate Communications, made the refutal in a statement on Sunday while reacting to a recent article and audio clips in which the CBN Governor and other senior officials were heard discussing discrepancies in the bank’s accounts.
Okoroafor said that the audio was distorted in a manner which creates a different impression of the matter being discussed, which was to proffer solutions to a misunderstanding that affected the Bank’s balance sheet.
“As publicly known the CBN was approached in 2015 by the National Economic Management Team and the National Economic Council chaired by the Vice President, to assist State Governments with Conditional Budget Support.
“This happened in the aftermath of the significant nose-dive in global oil prices and associated FAAC allocations.
“In order to ensure that ordinary Nigerian workers got their salaries, pensions and gratuities, and that the economy continued to recover from recession, the Bank provided about N650 billion in loans at 9 per cent with a two-year grace period to 35 States of the Federation.
“These monies were distributed to the states monthly with documented approval of the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Presidency.
“In closing the Bank’s 2018 accounts, external auditors in their Draft Account, erroneously classified about N150 billion of these loans as bad, which negatively affected the Bank’s Balance Sheet and shareholders fund.
“The selective conversation being circulated was simply a discussion to ascertain why the auditors took that position and next steps to resolving it.
“Obviously, it soon became clear that a State Government loan cannot be classified as “bad” or “irrecoverable” when the State still exists and getting FAAC allocations.
“The Bank then reached out to the Federal Ministry of Finance and they jointly gave comfort to the auditors who accepted in writing that these monies would be repaid.
“On this basis, the auditors reversed the negative entry and the certified that the CBN’s 2018 accounts were a true reflection of the State of Affairs,” he said.
Okoroafor urged Nigerians to disregard the audio and continue to trust that the Bank is doing everything it could to represent their interests in the best possible way.
“Under the leadership of Governor Emefiele, the CBN has always stood for, and vigorously pursued transparency in its stewardship of public resources and policies.
“The integrity of the CBN Governor remains unassailable. He has no account in Dubai or anywhere in the world and would never convert the funds of CBN for personal use. Not in the past, not now and not ever.
“The use of selective wiretapped conversations of the Bank’s Management, to malign his character and integrity will never stand.
” The Bank will pursue every legal means to bring the perpetrators to justice,” he said.