EconomyNaira exchange rate

Dangote Confirms “Embarrassing” EFCC Raid, 51 Other Firms Being Investigated Over Forex Allocation Abuse

“Ironically, the BUA Group, a rival conglomerate that…has conducted a high-profile campaign accusing Dangote of illegal accumulation of subsidised foreign exchange is also reported to be on the list of the 51 firms being investigated for abuse of the  CBN corruption-prone forex “allocation” system”.

 

Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) yesterday issued a statement on the 4 January 2024 raid by agents of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on its headquarters in which it described the raid as “embarrassing”.

Nigeria’s largest conglomerate also insisted in the statement that it has not been formally accused of any wrongdoing regarding the allocation and use of foreign currency by the Central Bank of Nigeria. Punch Newspaper reported that the raid on Dangote HQ commenced at 3 pm last Thursday and lasted “several hours”.

According to the Punch report, “the operatives ransacked offices and carted away several financial documents related to forex allocations to the group from 2014 to June 2023, when Emefiele was suspended from office by President Bola Tinubu”. But Dangote Industries claimed in the statement issued on Saturday, 7 January that, “Worthy of note is the fact that the officials did not take any documents or files from our Head office during their visit as these were already in their office”.

Aliko Dangote raid by EFCC
Mr. Aliko Dangote. Is EFCC raid on the Dangote HQ part of a genuine probe of the allocation of subsidised foreign exchange under former CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele?

Also Read: Dangote Refinery: Too Big to Fail

A Secretive Probe Of Foreign Exchange Allocation Under Godwin Emefiele?

Dangote’s statement revealed that the EFCC on December 6, 2023, wrote to DIL, requesting details of all the foreign exchange allocated to it by the Central Bank of Nigeria from 2014 to the present. According to the statement, “We understand similar letters were sent to 51 other Groups of companies requesting for same information spanning the same period.” In contrast to its usual practice of announcing high-profile investigations in the media, the EFCC has kept the investigation of foreign exchange allocations under wrap.

Ironically, the BUA Group, a rival conglomerate that is also into cement and food manufacturing that has conducted a high-profile campaign accusing Dangote of illegal accumulation of subsidised foreign exchange is also reported to be on the list of the 51 firms being investigated for abuse of the  CBN corruption-prone forex “allocation” system.

The Central Bank of Nigeria has for almost five decades responded to a fall in the price of crude oil (and hence reduced supply of foreign exchange) by “demand management” i.e. supplying foreign exchange to (a few) selected categories of users at a price that is significantly below what the market would have settled at if forex if the CBN sold to all users.

CBN demand management has created an inefficient dual market – the official CBN market for a few and a “black market” where firms and individuals who cannot access the CBN market buy forex at a price sometimes up to 30% higher.  This creates a powerful incentive for firms and individuals who can access the lower CBN rate to inflate demand beyond what they legitimately need and sell the excess on the black market.

The inefficient multiple exchange rate system was most inflexible under former President Muhammadu Buhari who equated a devaluation i.e. selling foreign exchange at a uniform but higher rate to all users, to “killing the naira” and the 7-year tenure of former CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele.

Also Read: Foreign Exchange: The Next President Should Not Impoverish Nigerians With A Strong Naira Policy

Former CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi criticised the system in 2016, saying that privileged Nigerians were making billions of naira in illicit profit “from their balconies” by making phone calls to obtain cheaper CBN dollars and selling it on the black market.

A Lagos-based businessman urges the EFCC to extend the investigation of abuse of CBN forex allocation to Asian manufacturing companies, claiming that they have abused the system for decades.

Dangote Industries Pledges To Cooperate With the EFCC

According to the statement from Dangote Group, they had requested more time from the EFCC to be able to compile documents on their forex transactions with the CBN over 10 years and also sought clarification over the subsidiaries or companies in the Dangote Group the EFCC is interested in.

“However, the EFCC did not provide the clarification sought and did not honour the request for an extension, and insisted on receiving the complete set of documents within the limited timeframe. Dangote also disclosed  that “despite this constraint, we assured the EFCC of our commitment to providing the information and pledged to share documents in batches as we complete the compilation.”

According to Dangote Group, “On 4 January 2024, our team delivered the first batch of documents to the EFCC. However, officers of the EFCC did not accept the documents, insisting on visiting our offices to collect the same set of documents directly. The conglomerate however pledged that “as a law-abiding and ethical corporate citizen, we remain committed to providing the EFCC with all necessary information and cooperation”.

 

 

 

Oluwatomi Otuyemi

Oluwatomi Otuyemi, a Geology graduate from Crawford University, has 5 years experience in corporate corporate communications. He has a passion for storytelling, and investigative reporting.

Related Articles

Back to top button
Arbiterz

Subscribe to our newsletter!

newsletter

Stay up to date with our latest news and articles.
We promise not to spam you!

You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

Arbiterz will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.