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EFCC Invades Dangote Office Over FX Irregularities

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) conducted an investigation at the headquarters of Dangote Industries Limited in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Thursday. This probe is part of an ongoing inquiry into potential abuses of foreign exchange allocations during Godwin Emefiele’s tenure as the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

According to sources within the EFCC, the anti-graft commission is examining the alleged preferential allocation of forex to the Dangote Group, led by billionaire Aliko Dangote, and 51 other companies during Emefiele’s leadership at the CBN. Although senior EFCC officials confirmed the visit to Dangote’s headquarters, they refrained from divulging specific details about the purpose behind their presence.

The commission had previously sent correspondences to these 52 companies, requesting documentation supporting their foreign exchange allocations and utilization over the past decade. While some entities complied with this directive, others requested additional time to gather the required documents.

Until June 2023, Nigeria operated under multiple exchange rates, a policy criticized by economists for causing distortions in forex allocation, market volatility, and fluctuations. These factors were attributed to inflationary pressures on the naira and the proliferation of black market activities, undermining the effectiveness of CBN’s monetary policies.

During the operation at Dangote’s headquarters, conducted during regular working hours, EFCC operatives conducted a thorough search, seizing numerous financial documents related to forex allocations from 2014 to June 2023, coinciding with Emefiele’s suspension by President Bola Tinubu.

An EFCC official disclosed that the investigation is focused on alleged preferential forex allocations made by Emefiele, purportedly in violation of financial regulations and the CBN Act. This official indicated that approximately 51 other major companies are under scrutiny for similar irregularities, suggesting that these allocations lacked approval from former President Muhammadu Buhari, potentially serving as a channel for money laundering through forex and Bureau De Change operators.

When approached for comments, the EFCC spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, declined to provide insights into the raid at Dangote’s headquarters. Additionally, attempts to reach out to Dangote Industries’ spokesperson, Sunday Esan, and other communication department officials, Anthony Chiejina and Francis Browne, remained unanswered at the time of this report.

According to Forbes Real-Time Billionaires, a platform tracking high-net-worth individuals’ wealth fluctuations, Aliko Dangote’s net worth dropped from $13.5bn in 2023 to $9.7bn as of January 4, 2024, marking a $3.8bn decrease, leading to his shift from the top position to the second among billionaires.

[Note: Additional relevant statements or responses from the EFCC or Dangote Group can be included if available.]

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