When Elombah.com reported on October 5, 2009 that the former CBN governor, Charles Soludo was named as one of the CBN officials that received bribes allegedly paid to Nigerian officials by the Australian printing company, Securency in order to secure contracts for the printing of polymer naira notes, Soludo denied that CBN could have been involved in the bribery allegation because the CBN only placed an order with the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company Limited Plc and was not involved in the award of contracts.
Read also Naira Polymer scandal; Soludo’s Lies Exposed (1)
However, we can confidently say that on the polymer note scandal involving Soludo, other Nigeria officials and the Australian company Securency; the former CBN Governor Chukwuma Soludo “personally met with Securency executives” to negotiate the Naira Polymer Contract that led to a bribe deal.
Prof Soludo denied that the CBN which he heads then was in any way involved in the award of the contract.
Elombah.com have it from very good sources inside Securency that Soludo personally met Securency executives Hugh Brown and Peter Chapman in London on several occasions and also at his villa in Abuja to discuss the polymer deal. This demolishes his claim that he was not involved in any way with the Polymer contract.
Our sources say “he was so paranoid about security services finding out about his arrangement with Securency that he preferred to meet the company’s executives in the UK or if he had to meet them in Nigeria, it was always at 3 AM at his house so as to minimise detection”.
The contract for the polymer currency was awarded during the tenure of Chukwuma Soludo as CBN boss in 2006.
It has since emerged that ‘Only CBN can award such contract’. According to a source in the CBN, it is only the central bank that could have awarded the contract for the printing of the polymer notes because the CBN has majority stake of 77 per cent in Nigeria’s Mint.
Other reports say some top officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) were neck-deep in the polymer banknote contract. Documents have shown that five companies bid for the contract before it was awarded to two.
The companies are: Global Securency (Australia); Gieesecke and Devrient (G &D) of Germany; De La Rue (the UK); FC Oberther (France) and Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC).
The bid was opened on March 27, 2006. It was concluded by April 4, 2006.
A March 16, 2006 letter from the Director of Currency and Banking Operations of the CBN invited the five firms for the bid, after they had submitted “designs of the cover banknote denominations under the CBN Currency Restructuring Programme”. “You are expected to submit quotations for the printing of the redesigned N5, N10, N20, and N50 notes,” the companies were told.
The letter asked the five firms to also put “ex-factory price cost of freight and NSPM commission (3%) in their quotations.”
The contract was awarded to the short-listed firms on May 2, 2006.
Sources say “After the bid, G&D and NSPMC were awarded the contract for the printing of the notes. But Global Securency won the bid for the production of blank polymer notes.
The contract began and ended in CBN. Some top officials of the apex bank were neck-deep in the deal.
Last week we disproved the second Soludo defence that it is incongruous that a company like Securency that enjoys monopoly would want to pay a bribe to secure contract in Nigeria. Echoing him one of his supporters wrote to us saying; “Who are Securency’s competitors for the Nigerian contract and why would the bribe be necessary”? (Read Naira Polymer scandal; Soludo’s Lies Exposed (1) )
Yet the fact remains that the firm, Securency, was found to have made a series of multimillion-dollar payments into offshore bank accounts of two British-based businessmen linked to the currency printing deal.
A confidential source revealed to Elombah.com that The Australia Federal Police Authority early this year sent a high level confidential security memo to the Presidency through the Office of the National Security adviser detailing bribery probe that centres on a series of multimillion-dollar payments by RBA firm Securency into offshore bank accounts of two British-based businessmen for onward transfer to Nigerian Government Officials to win a bank-note deal in the most serious development in a cash-for-contracts scandal.
Australian Federal Police taskforce had been investigating Securency for possible breaches of Australia’s criminal code, which outlaws payments to foreign officials.
Our Sources say the former CBN governor was named as one of the officials that received bribes allegedly paid to Nigerian officials in order to secure contracts for the printing of polymer naira notes.
Soludo who is running for the Anambra State gubernatorial election on the platform of the PDP had first printed the N20 denomination on polymer. Three other denominations – N5, N10 and N50 – were recently issued on polymer.
President Umaru Yar‘Adua launched the new N5, N10 and N50 polymer notes on September 30 at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The circulation of the new bank notes coincided with Nigeria’s 49th Independence Anniversary Day celebration.
Barely a few days after the launch, there were reports of underhand deals between some CBN officials and Securency International Pty of Australia – suppliers of the material for the notes. The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is probing alleged N750million offered by Securency to win the contract, which was awarded before Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi governorship of the CBN.
Elombah.com had revealed that One Mr.A.B.Okauro, the former head of National Financial Intelligent Unit (NFIU) and currently the Director –General of Governors Forum played the middle man and intermediary between Soludo and British businessman Benoy Berry.
Other Nigerian politicians and officials were also involved in the deal between Berry and Soludo. But Okauro was reported to have personally opened and ensured the safe egress of billion of naira of corrupt money out of Nigeria and was reported to have acted as go-between for Dr. Berry and Soludo’s CBN.
Elombah.com had carried a report that a Reserve Bank of Australia company is under federal police investigation for allegedly bribing Nigerian officials to win a banknote deal in the most serious development yet in the cash-for-contracts scandal.
The probe centres on a series of multimillion-dollar payments by the Royal Bank of Australia (RBA) firm Securency to offshore accounts of two British-based businessmen, BenoyBerry and Mike Harding, who boast high-level political contacts in Britain and Africa.
The firm, Securency, was found to have made a series of multimillion-dollar payments into offshore bank accounts of two British-based businessmen linked to the currency printing deal.
According to ur contact, when we broke this story, ‘since the story broke when the current CBN Governor, Lamido Sanusi was away in Turkey, attending banking conference, Soludo and his group used inside CBN contacts to “shred” the evidence’ to cover their deeds.
The Age newspaper of Australia this month revealed that Mr Harding and another British-based businessman, Benoy Berry, were paid several million dollars by Securency to market the company’s polymer notes in Africa and to win a currency printing deal in Nigeria.