Top lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has confirmed that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is probing the activities of former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Charles Soludo.
Sahara Reporters quoted a statement from Falana as saying that he has got the EFCC to look into a $7billion loan giving to 14 banks during the tenure of Soludo as governor of the apex bank.
Falana’s revelation came after Soludo demanded that he apologize and retract a statement indicting him (Soludo) of corrupt offences in an article on Sahara Reporters website some days back.
Rather than apologize, Falana revealed that Soludo has already been reported to the EFCC which has been charged to investigate his matter promptly.
Falana’s statement read: “On October 3, 2006, the Central Bank of Nigeria under the management of Professor Chukwuma Soludo gave a loan of $7 billion to 14 commercial banks in Nigeria. The loan was confirmed by the Head of the CBN Corporate Affairs, Mr. Festus Odoko when he announced that “deposits worth $7 billion representing the apex bank’s share of the foreign reserves estimated at $38 billion has been released to the consortium of bankers.” (The Guardian newspaper of 5/10/2006)
“Barely four days later, a respected economist, Mr. Henry Boyo challenged the illegal claim that the $7 billion was a “share” of the CBN in the nation’s foreign reserves. Since the funds belong to the three tiers of Government by virtue of Section 162 of the Constitution Mr. Boyo rightly stated that “the Senate and the House of Representatives would have defaulted in their constitutional duties if CBN is not invited to defend why $7 billion of our reserves should be ‘given’ to 14 banks without oversight approval.” (Vanguard newspaper of October 9, 2006).
“Having confirmed that the banks have failed to liquidate the said $7 billion loan, I have asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to investigate the illegality of the loan and recover same together with other huge funds which have been criminally diverted or withheld from the Federation Account. With respect, the denial of the $7 billion loan by Professor Soludo has supported the request for a thorough investigation of the allegations contained in my petition. However, having regard to the facts and circumstances of the controversial loan, Professor Soludo may wish to direct his demand for the apology to Mr. Festus Odoko!”