Court Hears That the Signature of Former Nigerian President Buhari Was Allegedly Forged to Withdraw $6 million

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Source: BBC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nigeria has requested Interpol’s assistance in apprehending three suspects accused of embezzling $6.2 million (£4.9 million) from the central bank by forging the signature of then-President Muhammadu Buhari. Authorities suspect the involvement of Nigeria’s former central bank chief, Godwin Emefiele, who is currently facing trial on 20 charges, including the illicit receipt of the aforementioned funds. Emefiele denies all allegations and is presently out on bail, making him the highest-ranking official to be accused of corruption since President Bola Tinubu assumed office last May.

Prosecutors assert that Emefiele unlawfully authorized the release of the funds from the central bank vault. In a statement last December, Emefiele dismissed the accusations as “barefaced lies told by the investigator in order to achieve his satanic agenda”. Emefiele’s purported accomplices—Adamu Abubakar, Imam Abubakar, and Odoh Ocheme, a former central bank employee—are believed to have fled Nigeria, prompting authorities to enlist Interpol’s assistance in locating and repatriating them.

The government issued arrest orders for the suspects following testimony from Boss Mustapha, a senior official from former President Buhari’s administration, during Emefiele’s trial in Abuja. Mustapha informed the court that neither he nor Buhari authorized the withdrawal of the $6.2 million, remarking that the signature on the document used for withdrawal was a “feeble attempt” at replicating the former president’s signature.

He emphasized that the document did not originate from the president’s office. The funds were withdrawn in cash in January of the previous year, a few months before the end of Buhari’s tenure. Prosecutors allege that Emefiele falsified the document to facilitate the release of the funds, purportedly intended for the payment of foreign election observers during Buhari’s term.

Emefiele was appointed as central bank governor in 2014 by then-President Goodluck Jonathan and was reappointed by Buhari in 2019. He held the position until Tinubu assumed office.

 

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