Home Finance No Nigeria has been accused of bribery in the polymer scam yet – Sanusi

No Nigeria has been accused of bribery in the polymer scam yet – Sanusi

by Business News Report

By Omoh Gabriel,
The Central Bank Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi Thursday told Vanguard Board of Editors that the so called polymer bribery scandal is still in the realm of Newspaper speculations as it affects Nigeria. He said that no Nigeria has been named or accused of taking the said bribe stating that no official reaction has come either from the CBN or the federal government.
He said the newspaper said investigations were on going and that until names are mentioned there was nothing any government official can do about it. This dispel speculations by some International and local media report that the CBN Governor has asked the Australia Central Bank to investigate the company that supplied Nigeria the polymer notes and disclose the names of Nigerians that were bribed by the company.
Sanusi said that if at the end of investigation it is established that some Nigeria officials were involved the matter will naturally be referred to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission to handle. He said that many media houses and other Nigerians have called to ask for the CBN position wanting him to confirm that the said scam took place. He said at this time when some people are seeking political office some are looking for what to use against their opponents.
In his words “Concerning the polymer issue, I can not add anything to what I have said about the issue. There is a story that says that there is an investigation being carried out on an Australian company, that gave $10 million bribe in connection with the contract for printing polymer notes in Nigeria. None of the people mentioned so far, among the recipients of the bribe are Nigerian.. Nobody has said that the bribe was given to somebody in CBN, it said it was given to some top government and political officials in Nigeria.

“As far as I am concerned, at this level, I place them on the same level of accusation that the Governor of the CBN is pursuing a Northern agenda. When they begin to give names, when they trace the money to Nigeria or to a Nigerian, I would expect the EFCC to swing into action.
“As I speak to you, to the best of my knowledge, not a single Nigerian has been named in the issue. Is it a true story, I do not know. I think that as they continue tracing the money, they would end up finding where it went”.
Professor Chukuma Soludo former Governor of CBN had in an interview with Vanguard in 2006 when CBN was planning to introduce the polymer notes said “We are planning or not planning is not the word. The whole issue of this currency policy is evolving including the clean note policy. That is part of the master-plan that we are planning. It links also to the design, to the restructure that we mean. The polymer technology is new, and is not being used widely around the world. People who advocated the idea do think that is the best thing that has happened those against it think it is the most horrible thing. We at the CBN are open.
Open to examine our actions, but will be guided by what is in the best interest of Nigerians. For example, I want to get down to what you said about security features. Most people think that the polymer is more difficult to counterfeit than the paper, and that the major reason people are moving to the polymer is because of the security. In Chile, they launched it last week, and was the major argument that they had. People say the marks can washout because they are plastic. We are open. We are going to have presentations from the various groups. If we have any cause to change one side or the other, we will also subject it to serious scrutinising in terms of technology and compatibility with the master-plan that we are developing for the mint.
The cost benefit analysis will also be considered. The major reason people call for the polymer is that it is durable, it is plastic and it can last for an average of three to nine years or more. It is also more expensive to print. For us it is going to be another cost benefit analysis and also given the technology that we have. It will cost us a lot of money to begin to redo them. We have spent quite a lot of money to do it better. In short we are open to proposals but we have to make the best decision for Nigeria”.
Media reports had said that a Reserve Bank of Australia company is under Federal Police investigation for allegedly bribing Nigerian officials to win a bank-note deal in the most serious development yet in the cash-for-contracts scandal. The bribery probe centres on a series of multimillion-dollar payments by RBA firm Securency into offshore bank accounts of two British-based businessmen.
Benoy Berry and Mike Harding boast high-level political contacts in Britain and Africa. The Age can reveal that among those contacts are senior British politician Lord David Steel and his adviser Atul Vadher, who were involved with Dr Berry and Mr Harding in another venture, Global Secure Currency Ltd, about the same time the pair were promoting Securency in Africa.
Lord Steel is a co-founder and former leader of Britain’s Liberal Democrats political party, inaugural presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament, a life peer of the House of Lords and vice-president of the Royal African Society. His long-time assistant, Dr Vadher, has also been an adviser to at least two African governments and contested the 1999 European Parliament elections for the Liberal Democrats. The Age is not suggesting any wrong-doing by Lord Steel or Dr Vadher.
Securency’s payments to Dr Berry and Mr Harding, coupled with their links to a senior British politician and his adviser, are likely to attract the interest of Britain’s Serious Fraud Office. An AFP taskforce has been investigating Securency since May for possible breaches of Australia’s criminal code, which outlaws payments to foreign officials. The probe is focused on large commission payments by Securency to politically connected foreign middlemen, often into tax haven accounts. An investigation by The Age into Securency’s Nigeria activities can reveal that the RBA firm paid millions of dollars into a tax haven bank account belonging to Dr Berry. The total figure is not known.

File: Polymer notes 24/10/

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