Engage Audit Firms to Probe CBN, not Private Investigator, Experts Urge FG

Engage Audit Firms to Probe CBN, not Private Investigator, Experts Urge FG

Some financial experts have advised the Federal Government to engage a consortium of audit firms to investigate the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The experts spoke against the backdrop of the appointment of a private investigator, Osayande Obaze, the former Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) to probe the CBN.

Some stakeholders said that the law empowered the FRC  to carry out such investigation, adding that going outside the FRC to appoint an individual could send the wrong message.

According to Prof. Uche Uwaleke, the Director, Institute of Capital Market Studies, Nasarawa State University Keffi, it is not out of place for the president to commission an enquiry into the activities of the apex bank.

Uwaleke, however, said that a consortium of audit firms could be trusted to do a more thorough probe than a private investigator.

“The CBN is the banker to the Federal Government, and in that regard, it is not out of place for the president to commission an enquiry into the activities of the bank.

“But in doing so, the president will approach it better by engaging the services of a consortium of reputable audit firms rather than giving that responsibility to an individual ” he said.

Mr Okechukwu Unegbu, a past president of the Chattered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), said that a private investigator might be influenced by certain personal considerations in carrying out the probe.

Unegbu said Obaze has had issues with the apex bank since his time at the FRC, which could influence his verdict.

He said that the government needed to have engaged reputable audit firms to thoroughly examine the CBN.

” It is not right for the president to appoint a single individual to do such an investigation.

“The guy they hired is a controversial person who has had issues with the CBN even from the time he was at the FRC, and he is going to be a bit biased.

“We need reputable and impartial audit firms to do the examination,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, Muda Yusuf, said that the investigation had become necessary to ascertain if there were any infractions or abuse of office.

According to Yusuf,  the only way to get the facts out is through the normal audit and maybe a forensic audit. It is not out of place.

‘’If there is any suspicion of abuse of office, the normal thing is to do a forensic examination to ascertain whether there was any infraction or abuse of office.

“You need to get the facts before you can take action against anybody,” he said

President Bola Tinubu recently announced Obaze as a special investigator to probe the CBN.

In a letter dated July 28, the president said that the probe was backed by section 15 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Tinubu also directed the special investigator to take immediate steps to ensure the strengthening and integrity of crucial government business entities ( GBEs), and also block further leakages in the CBN and related CBEs.

“By the fundamental objective outlined in section 15(5) of the Constitution, 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 they require that you immediately take steps to ensure the strengthening and integrity of crucial GBEs, and block further leakages in CBN and related GBEs.

“You will also provide a comprehensive report on public wealth currently in the hands of corrupt individuals and establishments, whether private or public,” Tinubu said.

He advised the investigator to use a “suitably experienced, competent and capable team”, and to also work with relevant security and anti-corruption agencies to deliver on the assignment.

“I shall expect a weekly briefing on the progress being made,” the president said. #Engage Audit Firms to Probe CBN, not Private Investigator, Experts Urge FG#

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ogochi Ndubuisi is creative content manager with interest in marketing and advertisement. Ogochi supports MarketForces Africa's clients corporate communication units with content development and liaise with media unit for disseminable product information.