In a startling development, Benjamin Fakunle, the outgoing Finance Director at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has been apprehended and detained by the Department of State Service (DSS). Fakunle’s arrest is reportedly linked to his role in the recently published seven-year audited accounts of the CBN, which has come under scrutiny for alleged deviations from stipulated accounting and reporting guidelines.
Fakunle, who had recently retired from his position, finds himself among several officials of the apex bank who have been arrested and subjected to interrogation. This crackdown is part of an ongoing investigation led by Jim Obazee, the Special Investigator appointed by President Bola Tinubu, into various aspects of the CBN’s financial practices.
Sources reveal that Fakunle was taken into custody on a Wednesday, during his retirement party in Abuja, and has since remained detained. One of the critical points of inquiry involves the payment of an alleged N401 million for the audited document, which is said to be in contravention of rules laid down by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria.
President Tinubu had taken decisive action in late July by appointing Jim Obazee to head a special panel tasked with scrutinizing the CBN. This move came in the wake of the arrest and prosecution of former CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who faced charges related to alleged financial infractions.
BusinessDay has learned that the investigative panel has been rigorously questioning the deputy governors of the CBN, along with other senior officials of the bank, as part of the comprehensive audit. Emefiele himself has been in the custody of the DSS since his arrest on June 10, 2023, one day after President Tinubu removed him from office.
As the investigation unfolds, the financial community is closely watching, eager to discern the implications of these actions on the CBN and the broader Nigerian economy. The government’s commitment to transparency and accountability remains at the forefront of this unfolding narrative.