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Buhari didn’t approve $6.2m for election observers — his signature was forged, Boss Mustapha tells court

Buhari didn’t approve $6.2m for election observers — his signature was forged, Boss Mustapha tells court
February 13
16:02 2024

Boss Mustapha, former secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), says neither he nor ex-President Muhammadu Buhari gave any approval for the disbursement of $6,230,000 to international election observers.

Mustapha spoke on Tuesday while testifying as the second prosecution witness in the trial of Godwin Emefiele, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Emefiele is standing trial on a 20-count amended criminal charges preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The amended charges border on alleged criminal breach of trust, forgery, conspiracy to commit forgery, procurement fraud and conspiracy to commit a felony.

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In some of the counts, the EFCC alleged that Emefiele, in January 2023, forged a document titled: “RE: PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE ON FOREIGN ELECTION OBSERVER MISSIONS,” dated 26 January 2023 with Ref No. SGF.43/L.01/201.

The EFCC said Emefiele made the claim despite knowing it to be false and committed an offence contrary to section 1(1) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006, and punishable under section 1(3) of the same Act.

According to the amended charge marked CR/577/2023, Emefiele, on February 8, 2023, connived with one Odoh Ocheme, who is now on the run, to obtain $6.2 million from the CBN, claiming that the SGF requested it “vide a letter dated 26th January 2023 with Ref No. SGF.43/L.01/201″.

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However, led in evidence by Rotimi Oyedepo, Mustapha said he knew nothing about the transaction even after he left office in May 2023. He said he only got to find out in December 2023 after the press published the news.

‘BUHARI’S SIGNATURE WAS FORGED’

When shown the documents which purportedly emanated from the office of the president, the former SGF 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, Mustapha said “a correspondence that carries the seal of the president of Nigeria does not carry a reference number. The seal is the authority”.

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“The Federal Executive Council (FEC) decisions are not transmitted by letters. They are transmitted through extracts after conclusions are adopted,” he said.

“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.

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“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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