February 13, (THEWILL) – A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, has disowned his signature and that of former President Muhammadu Buhari, contained in a purported document, allegedly directing the withdrawal of $6,230,000.00 from the vault of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on February 8, 2023, for payment of foreign election observers.
Mustapha made the denial on Tuesday, when he appeared as a fourth prosecution witness (PW-4) in the ongoing trial of the former CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, before an FCT High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja.
Emefiele is being prosecuted on a 20-count amended charge, filed by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).
According to the amended charge, Emefiele is being accused of forging a document titled: “Re: Presidential Directive on Foreign Election Observer Missions”.
Dated January 26, 2023, with Ref No. SGF.43/L.01/201, the former apex bank chief was alleged to have obtained by false pretence, $6,230,000.00 by falsely representing that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation requested the CBN to provide a contingent logistic advance in the sum of $6,230,000.00 “in line with Mr. President’s directive.”
THEWILL reported earlier that an official of the apex bank, Onyeka Ogbu, had in his testimony on Monday, told the court that the money was withdrawn and handed in cash to an official from the office of the SGF named Jibril Abubakar.
He said the action was backed by approvals by both President Buhari and Emefiele, following a request by the ex-SGF, Mustapha.
But while being led in evidence on Tuesday, by counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), the former SGF maintained that documents that authorised the withdrawal of the money, neither emanated from his office nor the presidency.
Mustapha told the court that he never knew the said Abubakar, adding that he was not a staff in his office.
Faulting the authorization letter that was purportedly issued from his office, Mustapha told the court that it was not the business of the Federal Government or the office of the SGF to request funds from the CBN for the payment of foreign election observers.
“My lord, all through my service year as the SGF, I never came across these documents. It was claimed that Buhari also signed, but on the face value of this document, having served for five years and seven months as SGF, this document did not emanate from the president for the following reasons.
“A correspondent that has the seal of Nigeria does not carry a reference number. The seal is the authority.
“Secondly, I have looked at it and read the document. Federal Executive Council, FEC, decisions are not transmitted by letters. They are transmitted through extracts after conclusions are adopted.
“Thirdly, I am the custodian of FEC, the president will not refer executives’ conclusions to me.
“Also, in all the five years and seven months I stayed in office, I never heard of the term ‘Special Appropriation Provision’ referred to me.
“The terms known to me my lord are appropriation as provided by the Appropriation Act, which is normally passed by the National Assembly. When the government files drafts, it brings Supplementary Appropriation.
“In all the correspondences I have received from Buhari, it has never had or ended with: ‘Please accept the assurance of my highest regard.’
“I am his subordinate. My correspondences do not carry that.
“And lastly, looking at the signature, it is a failed attempt at reproducing Buhari’s signature. I will leave that to the experts,” he said.
Meanwhile, trial Justice Hamza Muazu has adjourned further hearing in the matter till March 7.