Posted by News Express | 11 January 2013 | 3,413 times
The arrest, yesterday afternoon, of erstwhile Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Prof. Charles Soludo, has been described as “not unexpected” by a source close to him.
The source said that in view of the uproar that greeted the Australian polymer banknotes bribery scandal that blew into the open after Soludo left office, “it was only a matter of time before government would revisit the issue.”
“I’m afraid, Soludo has a bad case. You know the scale of the alleged bribe is monumental and Jonathan is desperate to make an example of whomever he can lay his hands on so as to deflect criticisms that he is not fighting corruption,” the source said.
As the source sees it, “Soludo became an easy target having lost the protection of his benefactor, former President Olusegun Obasanjo. With the open war between Obasanjo and Jonathan, any ‘Obasanjo boy’ with a skeleton in his cupboard should know that he can be picked up anytime by the EFCC.”
News Express reports that Soludo, who was arrested in his Abuja residence around 4pm and taken to the EFCC headquarters for questioning before being released, served as CBN Governor from 2004 to 2009. His conversion of N5, N10 and N15 into polymer notes (launched with fanfare on September 28, 2009) has proved to be his nemesis. Investigations by Australian authorities had indicted Securency, printers of the polymer notes, of paying multimillion-dollar bribes to some highly placed Nigerian government officials, including Soludo.
The ex-CBN Governor has not rested since the scandal became public knowledge. Last August, he was invited by EFCC following a petition by a Lagos-based NGO, the Human and Environmental Development Agenda. His arrest yesterday indicates that the investigation is yet to be concluded. Soludo, who was the 2007 governorship aspirant of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State, is expected to report back at the EFCC headquarters today for more grilling.
Apart from the polymer note scandal, Soludo also ran into trouble with his announced naira redomination exercise, which was halted at the last minute by late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
In yet another fraud-related case, Soludo in 2008 appeared before an anti-corruption panel set up to investigate the African Finance Institution, an institution he established to mirror the IFC, the financing arm of the World Bank.
•Photo: Prof. Soludo.
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