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Buhari’s signature was forged to withdraw $6.2m from CBN – Former SGF, Boss Mustapha, tells court

Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha has said that the signature of ex-President Muhammadu Buhari was forged by those who withdrew $6,230,000 from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on February 8, 2023, to pay international election observers.

Mustapha, who was testifying on Tuesday, February 13, in the trial of former governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, said his signature was also forged, adding that he knew nothing about the money reported to have been withdrawn for the payment of foreign election observers.

The ex-SGF said it was not the business of the Federal government or the office of the SGF to request funds from the CBN for the payment of foreign election observers, saying it was solely the responsibility of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deal with issues relating to election observers.

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LIB had earlier reported that an official of the CBN, Michael Onyeka Ogbu had told a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Maitama on Monday that the amount was given out in cash to an official from the office of the SGF, named Jibril Abubakar following approvals by President Buhari and CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele following a request by the SGF. A statement released the EFCC quoted Michael as telling the court that 

‘’My Lord, all requests for payments are usually channelled to the branch controller and that is my office. And on that day, my Lord, the request to my office was $6,230,000 and my attention was drawn towards it by my office assistant. It came from the banking services department and the memo carried the signature of the Director,  Banking Services, with an instruction to the branch controller to pay the sum of $6,230,000 to a staff of the  Secretary to the Government of the Federation, bearing the name and identity card of the person.

“it stated that the payment was for election observance and be paid cash in a naira equivalent of the said amount. It further stated that the money should be refunded in the second quarter of 2023 by the Federal Ministry of Finance. My Lord, the document also stated that, ‘find attached the approval of the governor of the Central  Bank of Nigeria for the payment’.

Also, the memo had an attached approval of the then Secretary to the  Government of the Federation, and that of the then President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Having gone through the document and satisfied that it met the requirement, I then minuted it to the head of the banking services unit for processing and subsequent payment. Mr. Williams, head of banking services compiled and made the payment on  April 8, 2023, and the payment was in cash. I can identify the document because it also carries my signature”

 When shown the documents which purportedly emanated from the office of the president, the former SGF while testifying in court today said

“On the face value of the document, I can say having served five years and seven months, this document did not emanate from the office of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Disputing the authenticity of the letter from the president, Boss said 

“A correspondence that carries the seal of the president of Nigeria does not carry a reference number. The seal is the authority. The Federal Executive Council (FEC) decisions are not transmitted by letters. They are transmitted through extracts after conclusions are adopted. I am the custodian of the record of FEC, for that reason, the president cannot refer any executive conclusion to me.

All the years I have served, I have never heard of the term “special appropriation provision”. The two terms known to me are appropriation as provided for by the Appropriation Act passed by the National Assembly. The second is when the government finds a gap, it brings a supplementary appropriation.

In all the correspondences I have received from Buhari, it has never had ‘please accept the assurance of my highest regard’. I am his subordinate.

The signature is a failed attempt at reproducing President Muhammadu Buhari’s signature. But I will leave that to the experts.”

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