Nigeria's ex-central bank governor arrested by anti-graft body



Abuja: Nigeria's anti-graft agency has arrested the country's former central bank governor Chukwuma Soludo over his alleged role in the banknotes bribery scandal.

The Central Bank of Nigeria, the country's apex financial institution, had printed new currency notes of 20 naira between 2006 and 2008 with polymer.

An NGO, in a petition to the anti-graft body, had sought for a probe after Australian media reported that Securency International, a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Australia, bribed some Nigerian officials to the tune of about USD 4.7 million to secure the note printing contract.

The contract in question was given during Soludo's tenure as the bank governor. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) interrogated Soludo at its headquarters alongside 15 other senior officers of the bank.

"Prominent amongst the names featured in the secret memo were that of the then CBN governor, Charles Chukwuma Soludo, senior officials of the finance ministry and a former president," the petition read.

"We have Soludo in our custody, among several other suspects, and it is part of an ongoing investigation over his involvement in the award of contract and printing of polymer banknotes when he was the governor of the CBN," the EFCC spokesperson Wilson Uwujaren was quoted by local Thisday newspaper as saying.

But the former bank governor, after the interrogation, described the process as a phantom allegation.

According to him, he was asked to say what he knew about the deal and then released on bail.

The EFCC was set up by the government of Nigeria to investigate and prosecute officials and members of the public involved in corrupt practices.

PTI