The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is intensifying its investigation into forex allocations totaling at least $347 billion made to Nigerian companies between January 2014 and June 2023, according to recent findings. This development follows an earlier probe into forex allocations to Dangote Group and 51 other companies during the tenure of the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele.
The anti-graft agency’s scrutiny is reportedly centered on the 52 companies that received the largest portion of the $347 billion. The EFCC has requested documents from these companies to substantiate the allocation and utilization of foreign exchange sold to them at official rates over the past ten years.
A breakdown of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s quarterly statistical bulletin reveals that the industrial sector, including banks and other financial institutions, received a significant share of the forex allocations. The data shows that $69.71 billion was allocated to the industrial sector, followed by the oil sector with $37.46 billion, and the financial services sector with $136.54 billion.
The EFCC has extended its forex allocation probe to include foreign firms operating in Nigeria. Some of the foreign companies reportedly under investigation include Crane Currency Limited, Gleseck+Deverint GmbH, De La Rue Ltd, Oberthur Fiduciaire SAS, and Orelll Fussli. The anti-corruption agency is seeking information on potential import and export violations by these foreign entities.
The ongoing forex probe is part of a broader effort by the EFCC to address allegations of abuse and mismanagement of foreign exchange allocations during Emefiele’s tenure. The investigation has sparked a significant response from various entities, with over 85 corporate organizations and individuals reportedly receiving letters from the EFCC requesting detailed documents of their foreign exchange transactions covering the last decade.
The forex scarcity in Nigeria has had severe implications on the economy, leading to the closure of some firms and negatively impacting business operations. The EFCC’s probe aims to address concerns related to forex management and ensure transparency in the allocation and utilization of foreign exchange in the country. The outcome of the investigation may have broader implications for the financial and business landscape in Nigeria.