The day was bright in the office of the Federal Ministry of Finance in Abuja. The then Minister, Kemi Adesoun bereft of what to do, picked her pen and wrote a memo to the now suspended Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele.
This memo will later lead to Nigeria losing N1.3 billion to one of Nigeria’s richest man, Mr Abdul Samad Rabiu, in a deal that insiders says was never fully executed.
With memo number HMF/CBN/FOOD/1/2017 dated June 2nd 2017, Adesoun attaching an approval from the immediate past Vice President, Yemi Osibanjo who was then Acting President, instructed the CBN Governor to dole out a whooping N5.8 billion to selected companies in the name of ‘Emergency intervention of food security to support the population affected by insurgency in the North East’.
The memo exclusively in the hands of SecretReporters revealed that five establishments were to share the money of which Rabiu’s own was among. The memo stated that the Accountant General of the Federation would send a formal mandate to support the Minister’s request.
Emefiele directed the DG (Ops) to “Pls process payment immediately”.
On June 7th via an internal secret memo, Y.M. Sanusi, the CBN director of Corporate Secretariat wrote to the Director of Banking & Payments System via Deputy Governor of Operations on the Decisions of the committee of Governors to make payment to Rabiu.
The billionaire submitted one of his companies known as Bua Rice Limited with Sterling Bank account number 0062487976 to receive the money.
This payment to the billionaire would later be taken from the controversial Ways and Means account of the FG.
In making the payment, Sanusi wrote “I write to inform you that the Committee of Governors at its 512th Meeting held on Wednesday 7th June, 2017 considered Memorandum CG/JUN/512/2017/12 on the request from the Honorable Minister of Finance for the payment of N5,865,671,389.26 for Emergency Intervention on Food Security to Support the population Affected By Insurgency in the North-East and GRANTED ANTICIPATORY APPROVAL PENDING RATIFICATION BY THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS.
With the masterstroke, Rabiu smiled to the bank, becoming a billion Naira richer.
While BUA was telling the public about its partnership with farmers in Kano State and urging them to key into the CBN Anchors Borrows Scheme around February 2017 as well as supporting the government in establishing 200,000 tonnes rice processing plant, it hid away from the public that the company was vigorously pursuing ways to take away over a billion Naira from the same government treasury four months later.
Ironically, while BUA Rice limited pocketed public funds in 2017, it was in the year 2022 that it set target to commence operations of its rice business.
The Rice Mill is yet to be completed till date, while the National Assembly has continued to ask the CBN for explanation on how BUA Rice Limited made use of the money paid into its account from Ways and Means.