••Arrested director’s grilling by Special Investigator ongoing
••Official alleged to have aided Emefiele, Shonubi, deputies to loot CBN
••Fakunle said to operate 65 local, foreign personal bank accounts, own 28 choice properties in Abuja alone
A major breakthrough may have been recorded in the ongoing probe of the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN) and other Government Business Entities (GBEs) by the Special investigator, Jim Obazee-led panel as operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) on Wednesday, in Abuja, arrested the CBN Director of Finance, Mr Benjamin Adeoye Fakunle.
It was gathered that Fakunle was arrested by DSS operatives at a lavish party he was hosting in one of his mansions in Abuja to celebrate his retirement from the services of the apex bank.
Fakunle was said to have successfully evaded arrest and interrogation several times until Wednesday when he was eventually apprehended while having a nice time at his retirement party. His arrest sources say, is therefore a major boost for the ongoing investigation of the CBN by the President Bola Tinubu-appointed Special investigator.
Fakunle, it was learnt, was the apex bank’s finance director allegedly used by both the suspended CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele and the current Acting Governor, Folashodun Shonubi, to loot the nation’s treasury of yet-to-be ascertained trillions of Naira.
Recall that the Special Investigator, Obazee’s panel had traced a whopping N8trillion looted from the CBN coffers to several private bank accounts. Many bank chiefs have already been grilled over their roles in these various fraudulent transactions.
Recently, two CBN deputy governors, Kingsley Obiora and Aisha Ahmad as well as the acting Governor, Folashodun Shonubi, were arrested, detained and interrogated by the DSS and the Special Investigator over their roles in the alleged heist at the apex bank under Emefiele’s watch.
Fakunle was also said to have been the last finance director of the CBN that cooked the audit report published on the website of the apex bank.
Obazee’s panel had recommended in its preliminary report the immediate withdrawal of the seven-year CBN audited annual financial reports released, following the discovery of some discrepancies and irregularities in the apex bank’s financial accounts.
CBN had in August released its financial reports for years 2016 to 2022 amid the ongoing probe of the apex bank by Tinubu’s Special Investigator. But the audit reports are said to have been found out by the panel to contain inaccurate information and false data.
Fakunle was said to have earlier been invited by the Special Investigator’s panel for questioning, but allegedly refused to cooperate during interrogation, despite all the evidence he was confronted with about his complicity in the heist at the CBN.
It was learnt that Fakunle as the apex bank’s finance director, aided the CBN governor, Emefiele and his deputies, including the acting CBN governor, Shonubi, to perpetrate monumental fraud at the apex bank as well as in z looting of the nation’s treasury.
It was due to his refusal to cooperate and his failure to honour further invitation, it was learnt, that led to the Special Investigator’s panel’s invitation to the DSS to effect his arrest before he escaped from the country.
DSS had earlier on Wednesday invited him to their headquarters, but he didn’t honour the secret police’s invitation, hence his eventual arrest.
Impeccable security sources told our correspondent that Fakunle had already planned to flee Nigeria at 2am on Thursday after his lavish retirement party.
But his plan to flee the country after the party was aborted by the DSS operatives, who stormed the venue of his lavish nocturnal party and picked him up.
Fakunle’s arrest, it was gathered, would throw clearer light on the heist perpetrated at the CBN under Emefiele’s watch.
According to impeccable security sources, the arrested CBN finance director has been discovered to be operating over 65 personal bank accounts domiciled in Nigeria and foreign countries.
He’s also said to have no fewer than 28 choice properties in Abuja alone.