NewsBuhari Approved Redesigned Naira Notes - EFCC Witness Tells Court

Buhari Approved Redesigned Naira Notes – EFCC Witness Tells Court

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June 11, (THEWILL) – A witness at the ongoing trial of former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, has told the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja that former President, Muhammadu Buhari, gave his approval for the printing of the redesigned naira notes.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on May 15, arraigned Emefiele on a four-count charge before Justice Maryanne Anenih of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), sitting in Maitama, Abuja.

In the four-count charge, the anti-graft agency claimed that Emefiele embarked on the naira redesign without the approval of President Buhari and the CBN Board.

Emefiele had, in his plea, denied the charge and was admitted to bail in the sum of N300 million naira.

Speaking on Tuesday, before Justice Anenih, an EFCC witness, former Director of Currency Operations at the CBN, Ahmed Umar, said former President Buhari actually approved printing the redesigned naira notes.

Led by prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo SAN, Umar said the president’s approval was for the redesign of naira notes to be locally produced.

Adding that President Buhari’s approved design included specific features such as a QR code and the portrait positioned on the right, Umar noted that the currency notes minted were different from the design approved by the former President.

Under cross-examination by Mahmoud Magaji SAN, counsel to Emefiele, the witness admitted that the redesigned currency has his signature as Director of Currency Operations, adding that no currency becomes legal tender without his signature.

He also admitted that former President Buhari on December 29, 2022, publicly launched the redesigned naira currency for the use of Nigerians as legal tender.

Another witness, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company PLC, Ahmed Halilu, revealed that in October 2022, Emefiele informed him of presidential approval for the redesign of the N100, N200, and N500 notes, emphasising the necessity of local production to align with domestic capabilities.

He said during a meeting at the CBN Governor’s office, Halilu was given a preliminary paper design of the new notes. He suggested that his team review the design and return with a proposal, highlighting significant changes needed at the substrate and printing levels, such as the numbering system, QR codes, and watermark positioning.

Halilu and his team recommended the involvement of De La Rue, a UK-based company and the original designer of Nigeria’s currency.

He said De La Rue’s engagement was crucial due to the complex security features required to prevent counterfeiting, including QR codes for youth engagement and enhanced watermarking.

Halilu said the redesigned notes by De La Rue, lacked the QR codes initially proposed. After De La Rue completed the redesign, the samples were submitted to the CBN Governor for approval, which was granted on October 19, 2022. The approved notes were later produced and admitted as Exhibits F and H in court.

The witness said De La Rue was paid £205,000 by the CBN, for their services.

 

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