The level of corruption associated with some Nigerians in various leadership positions and the extent they are willing to go in order to cover their tracks may sometimes leave one wondering if they were actually born corrupt or being corrupt has some form of national and international award attached to it. More so, when corruption is associated with certain people who are seen as proficient in their profession and are appointed into certain sensitive public offices based on perceived track records of integrity, it leaves the younger generation exposed to negative influence or at worst a corrupt role model.
It is not far from an “omen” to discover that the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr Godwin Emefiele, and certain of his close associates who could be seen as professional financial brokers and role models for financial experts as well as institutions seeking to rise to the peak of their career via excellence are ardent members of what can be called the “Gang of corrupt ambassadors” who appear to be an epitome of corruption.
This is as documents available to SecretReporters reveals that Godwin Emefiele who was appointed as the Governor of Nigeria`s Apex Bank in June 2014 is alleged to have owned and was a board member of various companies outside the shores of Nigeria, one of which is FZ Financial Management Limited located in London serving as a tunnel for the free flow of money and alleged money laundering activities.
Investigations showed that FZ Financial Management Limited which was registered and incorporated as a Private Limited Company on the 23rd of January 2006 under the Companies Act 1985 in London and situated in England and Wales has allies of the CBN Governor who are either serving or past GMD`s, CEO`s and management staff of Zenith Bank Plc as its board members amongst whom are; Jim Ovia who is the founder and pioneer Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc and served in this capacity for 20years, Mr. Peter Amangbo who is the current Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc, Adebayo Osolake who is an associate of J.P. Morgan Secretaries (UK) Limited as its Secretary.
SecretReporters also gathered that Emefiele who did not make public his board membership of the company to the presidency as at that time or simply took advantage of the lack of proper vetting by the relevant authorities prior to his appointment probably as a scheme to fast-track alleged money laundering activities to his foreign account using his company and Zenith Bank Plc as proxy, continued as a board member of FZ Financial Management Limited all through 2014.
We learned further that upon the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari as Nigeria`s president in 2015, the CBN Governor knowing fully that he might be subjected to probe and investigations for his illegal ctivities due to the dogged corruption fight by the president, tendered his resignation at FZ Financial Management Limited on 28th September 2015.
More documents in SecretReporters possession showed that although Godwin Emefiele resigned his position as a director in the company, JZ Financial Management Limited continued operations in London, with Peter Amangbo at the helm of affairs and money laundering activities allegedly carried out through Zenith Bank Plc.
After resigning, Emefiele mounted pressure on the company to declare insolvency in order to cover his tracks, which was done. It’s not clear if the company came back alive, even though UK sources claimed so to us.
With Jim Ovia as the Chairman of Zenith Bank and Peter Amangbo as the current GMD/CEO of the same bank, it was easier to launder money through the bank without any questions asked, as SecretReporters later discovered that Zenith Bank was a major shareholder in the defunct company.
This hideous action is believed to be a clear breach of the Nigerian Code of Conduct guiding public office holders as stated under Section 6(b) of the Code of Conduct and Tribunal Act which stipulates that: “A public officer shall not except where he is not employed on full-time basis, engage or participate in the management or running of any private business, profession or trade; but nothing in this paragraph shall prevent a public officer from engaging in farming or participating in the management or running of any farm”.
Section 7 further states that “Any public officer specified in the Second Schedule to this Act or any other persons as the President may, from time to time, by order prescribe, shall not maintain or operate a bank account in any country outside Nigeria.”
Fully aware of these provisions, Mr Emefiele continued to maintain business outside the shores of Nigeria and alleged to operate multiple foreign accounts while serving as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
When contacted via SMS in the course of the investigation, he declined to pick our calls or respond to text message. The banks corporate communication director, Mr Isaac Okoroafor also refused to pick calls from our newsroom. Like his boss, he also refused our SMS enquiry.