Management of Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) has refuted allegations that it engaged in illegal foreign exchange deals, warning those peddling the allegation of economic sabotage against the company to desist from such underhand practices.
It gave the warning following claims in some sponsored reports in the online media, suggesting that the company is being probed for alleged illegal foreign exchange deals and money laundering by the Special Investigator, Jim Obazee who is probing the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the leadership of the former CBN governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele.
In a statement, DIL described the allegation as “spurious and a rehash of a similar report peddled out of malice by a competitor, BUA Group, masquerading as a concerned Nigerian in 2016.”
Dangote recalled that the spurious and false story was started in 2016 and published in both BusinessDay and Leadership Newspapers, and accused the authors of the report of rejigging it to make it appear as authentic and a new development.
Dangote said: “It is saddening to note that this publication of Monday, March 14, 2016 in BusinessDay and Leadership newspapers where the author had alleged that about “$3billion foreign exchange sourced from the CBN were diverted to other Dangote companies outside Nigeria, a practice that encourages round tripping and effect money laundering since there is no proper documentation”.
DIL management explained that the same false report back “in 2016 was now being given a fresh false slant by one Ahmed Fahad purporting it to be a new petition directed to the attention of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Mr. Jim Obazee, the Special Investigator probing the CBN, and subsequently different blogs and social media platforms have been carrying variants of this arrant falsehood to the detriment of our corporate reputation.”
The statement said “attempt by the authors of this misleading allegation to give it a fresh life in the media is baffling as the two newspapers that were misguided into publishing it as advertorial then (2016) have since publicly apologised to the Management of Dangote Industries Limited in writing as well as retracted the advertorial in its entirety in their respective publications. Indeed, BusinessDay and Leadership Newspapers admitted that the advertorial was sponsored by Messrs. BUA Nigeria Limited.”
DIL re-emphasised that foreign exchange for its numerous projects were sourced strictly from Interbank Foreign Exchange market in compliance with the CBN approvals and that “Letters of Credit” were established for the construction of the various operational plants and for the purchase of heavy equipment and spares required for the take-off of the Dangote Cement plants.
“The terms and conditions for payments on the transactions were clearly spelt out in the Letters of Credit instruments and in line with the International Chamber of Commerce – Universal Customs & Practice for Documentation Credit – UCP 600. It is also crucial to note that the Letters of Credit in favour of Sinoma International Engineering Co Ltd (a Chinese Government owned company), being the major contractor who accounted for over 75 per cent of these expenditure were paid against the presentation of all relevant shipping documents. There was no single payment that was made through any Dubai company owned by us,” the statement noted.
DIL explained its forex dealings thus: “all FX purchased in respect of our African Projects expansion were fully utilised for what they were meant for. The projects for which the FX was utilised are visible for everyone to see. It is on record that some of these projects were commissioned by Nigerian top-ranking government officials and in attendance were Chief Executives of various banks, Captains of Industries and the Presidents of the host countries supported by their Senior Government Officials.”
The company further stated that funds invested in its expansion project across African countries are legitimate capital investments in those countries and the repatriation of FX in sum of $576 million so far has helped to boost foreign Exchange earnings in Nigeria and stabilise the FX Market.
Besides, DIL emphasised that it had “always funded the construction of her various plants from Interbank FX Market in line with the CBN directives and relevant periodic progress reports were submitted to the banks for onward submission to the Central Bank of Nigeria.”