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Senate threatens to order Godwin Emefiele’s arrest over $289m payment

The Senate Public Accounts Committee said on Tuesday that it might consider demanding a warrant for the arrest of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, over his alleged refusal to honour invitations extended to him by the legislature.

The committee invited Emefiele to address it on the release of $289m cash to a former Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayo Oke, sometime in 2015.

The Senate had, while acting on a report of the Auditor General for the Federation, last week, uncovered how the CBN released $289m cash to the former NIA DG.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, said the CBN governor had been summoned several times but he ignored the invitations.

Urhoghide fumed that Emefiele did not also deem it fit to send any official of the CBN to appear before the committee.

He said, “We have summoned the CBN governor; it is the only part remaining in the investigation.

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“The CBN governor has not sent any of his officials; they have to corroborate the story being told by those mentioned in the audit query, whether they are correct or not correct.

“The committee may consider consulting with the Senate leadership with a view to issuing a warrant for the arrest of the governor of Central Bank if he pushes us to the extreme.

“There are over 10 issues highlighted in the audit query that needed to be addressed by Emefiele and his top officials.”

He added that other issues, like the sales of federal bonds, funds collection, and discrepancies in figures between some agencies and the CBN, needed to be addressed by the governor of the apex bank.

The Director of Finance of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Godwin Okonkwko, had last week told the committee that $289m was released to the former NIA DG.

Okonkwo had explained that the $289m cash given to the former NIA boss by the CBN was based on a directive to that effect from the NNPC.

The $43m found in an Ikoyi apartment in 2017 that led to the sacking of Oke as the DG of NIA was a fraction of $289m cash collected by the DG from the NNPC.  Punch

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