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Auditor-General Asks CBN to Account for $4.5b Missing from Foreign Reserves

The Auditor-General of the Federation

The Auditor-General of the Federation, Shaaka Kanyitor Chira, has queried the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) about a substantial $4.5 billion missing from Nigeria’s foreign reserves.

An audit report from the Office of the Accountant General showed that the missing sum was unaccounted for in Nigeria’s foreign reserves between 2018 and 2019.

According to the report, Nigeria’s foreign reserves were $42,594,842,852.75 in December 2018 but decreased to $38,092,720,200.72 in 2019. The unexplained reduction of $4,502,122,652.03 during this period has prompted the Auditor-General to seek explanations from the CBN.

The discrepancy is said to have occurred amid the COVID-19 outbreak during the tenure of Godwin Emefiele, the bank’s former governor, who is currently facing corruption allegations in court.

Appointed as the Auditor-General for the Federation by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on October 20, 2023, Chira has called on the CBN to clarify the circumstances surrounding the missing funds. The audit report emphasises that if the apex bank fails to justify the sum, it could potentially jeopardise the stability of the exchange rate.

Chira stated that the situation violated Section 25 of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007. This section mandates the bank to maintain external reserves at suitable levels for the Nigerian economy and monetary system.

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