CBN Auditors Commence Probe Into N2.1bn Mint Scandal

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The audit panel set up by the Central Bank of Nigeria to probe the security breach that led to y-N2.1bn in newly-printed N1000 notes missing from the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company has started its work and is expected to submit its report in a month’s time.

A highly-informed source disclosed that the fate of the suspended Managing Director, Mr Ehi Okomoyon depends on the report. The audit will also unearth the scam at the Mint and help recommend measures to strengthen its internal control system.

The source said, “The CBN auditors have swung into action and they are the ones handling the audit of the security breach at the Mint.

“By the end of this month, they would have concluded their audit and their report is expected to be submitted in February because they have covered substantial ground in their probe.

“Don’t forget that the MD is still on suspension and he won’t be able to interfere with the investigations, and within the next few weeks, the report will be submitted to the board. It is this report that will determine the fate of the MD,” the source, asking not to be named explained.

The Board of Directors at the Mint is charge of the strategic policy decisions of the company and is chaired by CBN governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido.

Other members are Mr TundeLemo, Dr. Christopher Anyanwu, Prof. Sam Olofin, Mallam Dahiru Muhammad, Prof. Emmanuel Edozien, Chief E. F. Oke, Alhaji Suleiman Barau and Okomoyon.

The CBN has been relying on the Mint for production of its banknotes and coins since The Mint began production in 1996.

The volume of production has grown from a little over two million notes per week at inception to over 40 million notes every week at present.

But following the scam last month, Sanusi had reportedly launched an investigation to determine the true amount of money missing at The Mint and asked Okomoyon and the Head of Security, Mr. Emmanuel Bala, to proceed on compulsory leave.

The source disclosed that the CBN had no other option but to send in a team of auditors due to the sensitive nature of the case, and also because of the conflicting sums said to be missing.

For instance, while the CBN governor said it was N2bn, the management of the company claimed that only N900,000 was missing.

The situation has also made the House of Representatives to wade in, following a motion by the Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Mr Albert Sam-Tsokwa who asked the lower chamber to set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the disappearance.

Sam-Tsokwa said the December 2012 incident was the second known case involving large sums of money disappearing from The Mint, and said it was quite likely that other cases of theft there have gone unreported.

In an official reaction to the probe by the House, the Media Adviser to the company, Mr Obi Adiele, said NSPMC was ready for investigations.

He denied that the company had recorded series of theft cases as a result of security breaches, adding that its security system had made it difficult for such to occur.

He said, while one of the security operatives was caught with N900,000, another official who tried to steal N1.5m was also arrested at the gate.

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