From Uche Usim, Abuja
As the Jim Obazee-led special investigative panel probing the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) wraps up its assignment, influential Nigerians fingered in various financial infractions are jostling to meet with President Bola Tinubu to secure a soft landing.
Top on the list are top importers, manufacturers and politically-exposed businessmen who are allegedly neck deep in foreign exchange round-tripping totalling over $5 billion.
It was gathered that presidential aides are blocking these persons from having access to Tinubu in order not to affect the investigation nor its outcome.
Reliable sources told Daily Sun that President Tinubu is not ready to listen because “he wants to cleanse the financial ecosystem and plant the economy on a success path.”
“Those fingered in any infractions will be made to face the full wrath of the law because there are no sacred cows. They’re part of the reasons the foreign exchange market is in disarray and efforts are ongoing to restore normalcy and confidence in the system.
“I know many of them are lobbying seriously to meet with President Tinubu to secure some sort of soft landing, including returning the FX and avoiding prosecution. The panel has uncovered a lot of things and many of these influential people are currently on the investigative dashboard of the panel. Their staff have been grilled and a lot has been uncovered. The full report will be ready any moment from now”, a source close to the panel told Daily Sun”.
It was also discovered that members of the investigative panel have been receiving threatening messages since they lifted the lid on various financial malfeasances of FX traffickers whose firms have also come under investigation.
In July, President Tinubu constituted a special investigative panel to probe the apex bank and other Government-owned businesses.
He directed the team to report directly to his office to insulate them from hurtful bureaucratic bottlenecks.
In September, the panel extended its dragnet to companies and establishments owned by top shots of the apex bank and board members.
While the companies were kept under wraps as investigations deepened, Daily Sun, however, gathered that some of them were believed to be used as conduits for anchor borrowers’ loans and foreign exchange rackets; as there are no commensurate investments on ground to justify the hefty facilities.
In the course of the investigation, former CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele and his deputies resigned and were replaced with a fresh team led by Dr. Yemi Cardoso.
In August, the apex bank released its Consolidated Financial Statements for the last seven years, making it the first time since 2015 that the apex bank will open its book available for public scrutiny.