DSS arrests Benjamin Fakunle at his retirement party

The outgoing Finance Director at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Benjamin Fakunle, has been arrested and detained by the Department of State Service (DSS).

Fakunle is being grilled over his role in the seven-year audited accounts of the apex bank alleged to have been fraudulently prepared, findings by InsideBusinessNG revealed.

He was reportedly arrested by the secret police at the post-retirement party being held in his honour on Wednesday.

He was said to have been arrested Wednesday at his retirement party in Abuja and has since been in detention.

As finance director, Fakunle oversaw the finance department of the bank and was also in charge of the audited accounts and their preparation.

The position entails supervising processes and following accounting best practices in line with the enabling act of the institution. It also involves liaising with the auditors of the bank.

However, reports say discrepancies and irregularities were discovered in the audited accounts, which came on the heel of the interrogation of Shuaib Ahmed, the Executive Secretary of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC) and his deputy, Iheanyi Anyahara on Tuesday by the team of the Special Investigator.

Ahmed and Anyahara were quizzed over the ‘Accounting Guideline for Financial Reporting by the CBN’ prepared by the FRC and in use by the apex bank for the preparation of the audited accounts from 2017 to 2022.

The guidelines, about six in all, were issued and sold to the CBN by the trio of the late Daniel Asapokhai, the former executive secretary, his deputy, Anyahara, and Ahmed, the current executive secretary at a total cost of N401.75 million according to findings.

In July, President Bola Tinubu appointed Mr. Jim Obazee as the special investigator to investigate the apex bank and related entities.

In the appointment letter dated July 28, 2023, President Tinubu said the special investigator would also work on a comprehensive report on public wealth currently in the hands of corrupt individuals and establishments.

Part of his job schedule is to strengthen key Government Business Entities (GBEs), block leakages in CBN and related GBEs and provide a comprehensive report on public wealth currently in the hands of corrupt individuals and establishments.

Fakunle would also be required to explain why N401 million was allegedly paid for the document as against the rules laid down by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria.

He will also be expected to give reasons for the advance payment of N300 million fee to both KPMG and EY, the two auditors of the CBN when work for the 2022 audited accounts had not started.

The DSS earlier arrested and later released the Deputy Governor of the CBN in charge of Economic Policy, Dr. Kingsley Obiora, after interrogating him.

Obiora is in charge of Economic Policy in the bank.

Meanwhile, the suspended Governor of the apex bank, Godwin Emefiele has been in the DSS custody since his arrest on June 10, 2023.

Emefiele was arrested shortly after President Tinubu suspended him.

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