by Segun Odeleye
Following the allegations by Australian negotiator, Stephen Davis, that there are people within the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) who are using the bank to fund the activities of Boko Haram, the CBN has released a statement denying the allegations.
In an interview last month, Davis said: “Funds are provided to purchase weapons. This is sometimes transferred through the Central Bank of Nigeria to a person in Cairo who provides the weapons and also provides military uniforms. At other times vehicles are purchased in Benin for example and driven into Nigeria where they are sold for cash. They do not mind taking a loss on the sale price as by this method they can obtain cash in Nigeria without a direct link to the sponsor.”
After the allegation by Davis was published, an NGO, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) sent a letter to the CBN asking for information about the allegation and demanding to know the persons or office involved in alleged money laundering activities of the Boko Haram sect through the CBN, as well as information on the exact nature and duration of any such transactions.
In response, the CBN in a letter signed by its director of legal services, O.A Ogundana, dated October 16, 2014, said it had investigated the allegations across the various departments at the Bank that deal with payments, and “could not find any information pertaining to persons involved in money laundering through the CBN to fund the activities of Boko Haram.”
It continued: “The CBN as Banker to the Federal Government only maintains accounts for and on behalf of the Government, its Ministries, Departments and Agencies; Deposit Money banks and other financial institutions in Nigeria and can only make payments on their behalf based on authorised mandates.”
“Consequently, the CBN does not maintain or operate any accounts for individuals, officers or offices within the Bank. In conclusion, your organisation may wish to note that the Bank maintains a robust Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism framework to prevent the use of its platform for financial crimes. Please, accept the assurances of the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria.”