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Monday, April 15, 2024

Former SGF testifies: $6.2m fraud involved forged document, says Mustapha

Lagos State House of Assembly calls for urgent measures as ex-Secretary to the Government reveals details in ongoing trial.

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In a significant revelation during the ongoing fraud trial of the former CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, before the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Maitama, Abuja, Boss Mustapha, the immediate-past Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), disclosed that $6.2 million was unlawfully released from the Central Bank of Nigeria in February 2023, utilizing a forged document.

Mustapha, appearing as the fourth prosecution witness, detailed how the funds were purportedly released for foreign observers ahead of the 2023 general elections. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned Emefiele on multiple counts, including forgery, criminal conspiracy, and breach of trust, alleging that he unlawfully obtained the funds by impersonating the SGF.

During his testimony, Mustapha debunked the authenticity of the document, emphasizing that it did not originate from his office or President Muhammadu Buhari’s. He highlighted several discrepancies, including procedural anomalies and a failed attempt to replicate the President’s signature.

The former SGF underscored that the Federal Government had no involvement with foreign election observers, further discrediting the alleged directives for the fund disbursement.

Under cross-examination, Mustapha reiterated that no part of the $6.2 million reached his office and emphasized the absence of any memo authorizing such payments to government agencies.

Additionally, Ogbu Michael, a former Branch Controller at the CBN, testified that he authorized the payment but did not authenticate the identity card used for the transaction, raising further questions about due diligence in the process.

The trial, marked by revelations of procedural irregularities and alleged misconduct, underscores the urgency for accountability and legal reforms. As Mustapha’s testimony sheds light on systemic vulnerabilities, calls for swift action and institutional safeguards echo across Nigeria’s political landscape.

Justice Hamza Muazu adjourned proceedings, paving the way for continued scrutiny of the unfolding legal saga, which could reshape the nation’s anti-corruption efforts and regulatory frameworks.

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