Tinubu probes CBN, appoints Obazee Special Investigator

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President Bola Tinubu has appointed the Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Reporting Council, Jim Osayande Obazee, as a Special Investigator to probe the Central Bank of Nigeria.

In a letter he signed and dated July 28, 2023, the President stated that the probe is by section 15(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended.

The President, however, said the “terms of reference as the Special Investigator shall be communicated to you in due course.”

The President also directed the Special Investigator to “take immediate steps to ensure the strengthening and integrity of crucial government business entities (GBEs), further block leakages, in CBN, and related GBEs.

The investigator is also to provide comprehensive reports on public wealth currently in the hands of corrupt individuals and establishments (whether private or public).

The President asked the Special Investigator to investigate CBN and key Government Business Entities.

“By the fundamental objective outlined in section 15(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), this administration is today, continuing the fight against corruption by appointing you as a Special Investigator to investigate the CBN and Related Entities. This appointment shall be with immediate effect, and you are to report directly to my office.”

“The full terms of your engagement as Special Investigator shall be communicated to you in due course but require that you immediately take steps to ensure the strengthening and integrity of crucial government Business Entities (GBEs), further block leakages in CBN and related GBEs and provide a comprehensive report on public wealth currently in the hands of corrupt individuals and establishments (whether private or public).

“You are to investigate the CBN and related entities using a suitably experienced, competent and capable team and work with relevant security and anti-corruption agencies to deliver on this assignment. I shall expect a weekly briefing on the progress being made,” the letter read.

The letter includes a directive suspending Godwin Emefiele as Governor of the CBN on June 9, 2023.

The development is coming just as Emefiele is undergoing trial for alleged illegal firearm possession before the Federal High Court in Lagos.

Obazee is saddled with the responsibilities of overseeing the setting, monitoring and enforcing financial reporting standards and Corporate Governance practices in both public and private sectors of the Nigerian economy.

Obazee, who was also linked with the implementation of the controversial corporate Governance Code 2016, that made Enoch Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God to relinquish his position and announce Joseph Obayemi as his successor.

The code limits the tenure for heads of religious groups and civil rights organisations to 20 years.

Obazee pushed for the implementation, despite former President Muhammadu Buhari’s objections

The financial standards expert is also responsible for harmonizing the activities of relevant professional and regulatory bodies in Nigeria.

In his earlier role, he has been attached to Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) USA and ASB, Canada.

He was the Chairman of the 29th Session of UNCTAD-ISAR and chairman of the committee of the roadmap to the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards in Nigeria.

Obazee who holds an M.Sc in Accounting, is also a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and a member of American Accounting Association.

Obazee had previously conducted investigations on the Central Bank of Nigeria.

He also investigated the Bank of Industry; Zenith Bank of Nigeria Plc; Guaranty Trust Bank Plc and Access Bank Plc.

The financial standards expert served in several Technical Committees, including those on Accounting in the Petroleum Industry, Upstream Activities; Technical Committee on Accounting for Insurance Business; Technical Committee on Accounting for Statement of Cash Flows; Committee on Implementation Guide to Accounting for Leases and Technical Committee on Accounting in the Petroleum Industry – Downstream Activities among others.