The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is set to scrutinise the accounts of the Nigerian tycoon as part of an investigation into questionable foreign exchange transactions.
Dangote Group, the largest industrial conglomerate in Nigeria, was visited by EFCC investigators on 4 January.
The anti-corruption agency suspects the Nigerian group of involvement in financial crimes during the tenure of Godwin Emefiele, the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria from 2014 to 2023, who himself is under investigation for corruption.
The raid on the group’s offices in Lagos is part of the EFCC’s probe into preferential allocations of foreign currencies made by the former custodian of Nigeria’s treasury.
Active in the cement, fertiliser and sugar sector, and soon to open a refinery, Aliko Dangote is not the sole target of the EFCC.
52 companies under scrutiny
The Nigerian anti-corruption body is targeting a total of 52 Nigerian companies, including BUA, the direct competitor of Dangote Cement.
In November last year, the group led by Abdul Samad Rabiu accused Aliko Dangote and his holding of benefiting from illegal foreign exchange operations, accusations refuted by the pan-African construction materials giant. According to the EFCC’s allegations, these companies would have benefited from preferential exchange rates to purchase dollars at a reduced price to import raw materials and continue their activities.
Until June 2023, when Emefiele was ousted by Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) applied multiple exchange rates. In a statement on 7 January, the Dangote Group declared that it is cooperating with the EFCC. “Whilst our representatives were still at the EFCC’s office to deliver the documents, a team of their officers proceeded to visit our offices to demand for the same documents in a manner that appeared designed to cause us unwarranted embarrassment,” said the conglomerate.
Suspended as part of an investigation into the activities of the central bank and subsequently arrested by the national security agency, Emefiele was released last December after paying a bail of over $300,000.
The former central bank governor is suspected of serious malpractices, including fraud in the awarding of public contracts.