Emefiele: Forensic expert confirms forgery of Buhari’s signature to withdraw $6.2m from CBN

In the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Maitama, a forensic analyst has testified that the documents utilized to request the payment of $6.2 million for foreign election observers were forged.

Bamaiyi Meriga, the forensic analyst, made this assertion on Thursday while providing evidence as a witness in the trial of Godwin Emefiele, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

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

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

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.

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″.

At the resumed court session, the witness said after a forensic analysis of the disputed documents, he discovered that there was clear evidence of forgery of signature and that the seal of execution was different from the original.

He also claimed that the signatures were not those of former President Muhammadu Buhari and Boss Mustapha, former secretary to the government of the federation.

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The two documents on ‘Presidential Directive on Foreign Observer Election’ were tendered and admitted in evidence by the court.

Under cross-examination by counsel for Emefiele, the witness said he was not a staff of the EFCC and was not being paid by the anti-graft agency, but that his salary was domiciled with the Nigeria Immigration Service.

The former SGF had 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.

Mustapha said his signature and that of the former president were forged.

He also said the recipient of the money was not a staff of the SGF office as claimed by the CBN.

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