Northern Nigerian Breaking News

How Emefiele ‘stole’ billions of dollars from CBN without Buhari’s approval

The special adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, has said ex-President, Muhammad Buhari was not aware of the depletion of Nigeria’s foreign reserves under the watch of former Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele. 

Speaking in an interview with TVC, Ngelale said Buhari did not authorise the bulk of the expenditures from the foreign reserves, amounting to billions of dollars, under Emefiele.

“What was done concerning the expenditure of billions of dollars from the foreign reserves was done largely without the approval or knowledge of President Muhammad Buhari and President Bola Tinubu. Yes, that might seem hard for some people to believe, but I want to explain how that could have happened.

“We have one of the few Central Banks in the world where the day-to-day CEO was the governor of the Central Bank and was also the chairman of the board of directors. He was essentially overseeing himself,” Ngelale said.

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Though appointed by Goodluck Jonathan after the suspension of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Emefiele, who is facing multiple lawsuits, was in charge of the CBN throughout Buhari’s 8-year tenure.

He was suspended by Tinubu weeks after assuming power. He also ordered his probe.

Last week, a forensic document examiner, Bamaiyi Haruna, said analysis of some documents used to release $6.2m from the CBN in February 2023 showed that the documents were forged.

Haruna, who is an official of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), stated this at the resumed trial of Emefiele before the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja.

The EFCC, on June 18, 2023, arraigned Emefiele on amended 20 counts, in which he was accused of impersonating the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to illegally move $6.2m from the CBN vault.

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In the charges, the EFCC alleged that on February 8, 2023, Emefiele connived with one Odoh Ocheme, who is now on the run, to obtain $6.2m from the CBN, claiming that it was requested by the SGF “vide a letter dated 26th January 2023 with Ref No. SGF.43/L.01/.

The anti-graft agency also 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.

At the previous hearing, the immediate-past SGF, Boss Mustapha, appeared as a witness to testify against Emefiele.

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Mustapha, in his testimony, told the court that neither he nor Buhari was aware of the $6.2m, adding that Buhari’s signature was forged to move the money out.

Mustapha also told the court that the Federal Government had no business funding foreign election observers.

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“In all the correspondence I have received from Buhari, it has never had ‘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,” Mustapha, who was the fourth prosecution witness, told the court.


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