SERAP urges CBN governor to explain missing N100bn in damaged notes

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Olayemi Cardoso, to clarify the whereabouts of over N100 billion in “dirty and bad notes” and other significant cash sums awaiting examination in various CBN branches. In a letter dated June 29, 2024, Deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare referenced the Auditor-General’s latest annual report documenting these concerns, suggesting severe breaches of public trust and compliance with the Nigerian Constitution, CBN Act, and anti-corruption obligations.

SERAP further demanded explanations for the unaccounted N7.2 billion allocated for constructing the CBN Dutse branch in 2010 and the N4.8 billion designated for renovating the CBN Abeokuta branch in 2009. The organization urged Cardoso to publish the names of contractors who failed to complete these projects despite receiving the funds. Additionally, SERAP called for clarification on the N1.2 billion loan granted to the Enugu State Government in 2015 and the N1.9 billion loan to the Anambra State Government between 2015 and 2016, emphasizing the need to recover and remit these public funds.

The letter emphasized that if these issues are not addressed within seven days, SERAP would take legal action to compel compliance. According to the Auditor-General’s 2020 report, the CBN has been holding over N100 billion in “dirty and bad notes” since 2017, which may have been diverted back into the economy. SERAP also noted that both the Dutse and Abeokuta branch projects remain incomplete years past their deadlines. Highlighting violations of financial regulations and public procurement laws, SERAP asserted that these issues undermine the CBN’s ability to fulfill its statutory duties and erode public trust.

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