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DSS Detains Benjamin Fakunle, a Senior Central Bank Director, at Retirement Celebration

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Benjamin Fakunle, the outgoing Finance Director of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), was arrested and taken into custody by Nigeria’s Secret Police, the Department of State Services (DSS), during his retirement party. He is currently undergoing questioning regarding his alleged involvement in fraudulent preparations of the apex bank’s seven-year audited accounts, as revealed by InsideBusinessNG.

This arrest occurred on Wednesday during his retirement party in Abuja, and he has remained in detention since then. As the finance director, Fakunle was responsible for overseeing the financial department of the bank, including the preparation of audited accounts. This position involved supervising processes, ensuring adherence to accounting best practices in accordance with the institution’s enabling act, and liaising with bank auditors.

However, discrepancies and irregularities were reportedly uncovered in the audited accounts, leading to his arrest. This development follows the interrogation of Shuaib Ahmed, the Executive Secretary of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC), and his deputy, Iheanyi Anyahara, by a Special Investigator team on Tuesday. They were questioned about the ‘Accounting Guideline for Financial Reporting by the CBN’ used by the apex bank for preparing audited accounts from 2017 to 2022.

President Bola Tinubu appointed Mr. Jim Obazee as the special investigator in July to investigate the CBN and related entities. One of his tasks is to strengthen Government Business Entities (GBEs), eliminate leakages in CBN and related GBEs, and provide a comprehensive report on corrupt individuals and establishments holding public wealth.

Fakunle is also expected to explain why N401 million was allegedly paid for the document in violation of Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria rules. Furthermore, he will need to provide reasons for the advance payment of N300 million to both KPMG and EY, the two auditors of the CBN, even though work on the 2022 audited accounts had not commenced.

Previously, the DSS arrested and subsequently released Dr. Kingsley Obiora, the Deputy Governor of the CBN in charge of Economic Policy. Meanwhile, the suspended Governor of the apex bank, Godwin Emefiele, has been in DSS custody since his arrest on June 10, 2023, following his suspension by President Tinubu.

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