‘CBN disbursed N135bn gas funds to ‘Potfolio companies’ without due diligence’

AN ongoing investigation by the Nigerian Senate has unravelled how the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), disbursed over N135 billion out of N250 billion gas fund to 14 ‘Potfolio’ companies.

The Upper Legislative Chamber also disclosed that the CBN disbursed the fund without due diligence and without working with the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

Chairman Senate Committee on gas, Agom Jarigbe, on Friday, December 1, said the defaulting companies would be handed over to anti-graft agencies after the investigations.

He pointed out that the apex bank didn’t follow the necessary fund disbursement guidelines, adding that the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources wasn’t aware of the disbursement.

“The guidelines for the disbursement state that there ought to be an evaluation of the firms at the Ministry. Also, the names of the obligors (Beneficiaries) should be sent to the Ministry to access the funds, but that wasn’t done properly.

“We discovered that some of the companies that collected these funds are portfolio companies, and they have nothing on the ground to show,” he added.

It would be recalled that the current Central Bank Governor, Olayemi Cardoso, has said, that the apex bank would not be involved in quasi-intervention programmes and related development financing functions.

    Cardoso expressed concerns that CBN, under Godwin Emefile, spent over N10 trillion on various kinds of interventions with less impact on the economy.

    “The CBN had strayed from its core mandates and was engaged in quasi-fiscal activities that pumped over N10trillion into the economy through almost different initiatives in sectors ranging from agriculture, aviation, power, youth and many others. These clearly distracted the bank from achieving its own objectives and took it into areas where it clearly had limited expertise,” said the CBN Governor at the recent Banker’s meeting in Lagos.

    An experienced World Bank Project consultant said, Henry Ademola Adigun, who spoke on the development, said the CBN getting into activities of quasi-intervention fuels corruption.

    “We have development banks in Nigeria like the Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture and Development Bank of Nigeria,” he said,

    Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

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