Tinubu’s appointed investigator raises concerns over CBN’s audited reports

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Tinubu greenlights N35,000 salary boost for federal government employees
Tinubu greenlights N35,000 salary boost for federal government employees

There is growing concern over the audited annual financial reports of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which were released last month.

Investigations have revealed discrepancies and irregularities within the financial accounts, raising the possibility of their withdrawal.

This situation has emerged in the midst of an ongoing probe into the CBN and other Government Business Entities (GBEs) by a Special Investigator appointed by President Bola Tinubu.

The investigation, initiated on July 28, 2023, is part of the government’s continued efforts to combat corruption.

The President’s directive called for a thorough investigation into the activities of the CBN, particularly during the tenure of its suspended governor, Godwin Emefiele.

The investigation, which extends beyond the CBN to entities like the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) and the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), aims to uphold transparency, accountability, and good governance.

Special investigator’s examination raises concerns

Working diligently, the Special Investigator has enlisted a team of accountants, auditors, and forensic experts to conduct a comprehensive examination.

Their findings have raised significant concerns regarding the accuracy and integrity of the CBN’s financial accounts spanning from 2016 to 2022.

One of the key issues of contention is the alleged use of guidelines obtained from the FRC, in a manner deemed controversial, to prepare the CBN’s financial accounts.

It has come to light that the CBN reportedly paid a substantial sum, totaling N401.75 million, to the IFRS Academy for these guidelines.

However, critics argue that such guidelines should have been freely accessible and not subject to payment.

Moreover, there are questions surrounding the failure to use the International Financial Reporting Standards 9 (IFRS 9), which mandates full disclosure of all financial transactions. Instead, the CBN is accused of understating figures by avoiding IFRS 9 guidelines.

In response to these findings, the investigative team is poised to recommend that presidential approval be obtained to instruct the FRC to order the CBN to withdraw its audited financial reports for the years 2016 to 2022.

This withdrawal would precede the preparation of new financial accounts in accordance with appropriate accounting standards.

The Department of State Services (DSS) is expected to summon the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the FRC, Shuaibu Ahmed, and other high-ranking officials for questioning.

The FRC’s involvement in providing accounting guidelines to external organizations is another aspect that has raised concerns.

As the investigation unfolds, more cases related to Godwin Emefiele may come to light in legal proceedings, further emphasizing the seriousness of this probe.

Economists and civil society organizations have expressed varying opinions about the investigation, with some supporting it as a means to ensure transparency and accountability and others expressing concerns about its potential impact on investor confidence.

In conclusion, the investigation into the CBN’s financial accounts underscores the government’s commitment to addressing issues of corruption and misconduct, as it seeks to maintain integrity within government institutions and entities.