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$6.2m CBN fraud: Special Investigator lines up 14 exhibits, 9 witnesses against Emefiele’s PA, 2 others

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$6.2m CBN fraud: Special Investigator lines up 14 exhibits, 9 witnesses against Emefiele’s PA, 2 others

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…as Interpol activates Red Notice alert, widens dragnet for suspects

The Special Investigator appointed by President Bola Tinubu to investigate the Central Bank of Nigeria, Related Entities and Other Key Government Business Entities, Jim Obazee, has arranged no fewer than 14 exhibits and nine witnesses against Eric Ocheme Odoh, the runaway Personal Assistant to the former CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, and two others (also on the run) before the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court over an alleged stealing of the cash sum of $6,230,000 from the vaults of the Abuja Branch of the apex bank.

This is just as the Interpol has intensified its search for Emefiele’s PA and the two other suspects.

It was learnt that following the Special Investigator’s request, Interpol has activated its Red Notice alert to member-countries to promptly apprehend the three runaway suspects.

The Office of the Special Investigator, it was learnt, had initiated and thoroughly investigated the heist at the CBN. But the Attorney General of the Federation, it was learnt handed over the matter to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to prosecute the suspects in court. The Office of the Special Investigator, it was further learnt, has provided all the evidence, exhibits and the witnesses to testify in court.

Emefiele is also indicted in the alleged fraudulent payment of the $6,230,000 cash by the CBN to the three suspects.

Apprehending Emefiele’s runaway personal assistant and his other alleged collaborators, it was gathered, will provide answers to the clues surrounding the several corrupt practices and monumental fraud allegedly perpetrated at the CBN under Emefiele’s watch.

Earlier on Tuesday, the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, had while testifying in court as the second prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of Emefiele, said neither he nor ex-President Muhammadu Buhari gave any approval for the disbursement of the $6,230,000 to international election observers.

Later on Tuesday, the Office of the Special Investigator reportedly requested the International Criminal Police (Interpol) to place Emefiele’s Personal Assistant, Odoh and two other suspects, Adamu Abubakar and Imam Abubakar on its watchlist over the alleged crime for their arrest and prosecution in court.

Federal Government had earlier filed extradition charges against the three suspects for allegedly forging the signature of former President Muhammadu Buhari as well as documents purportedly written by the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha to induce the payment of the $6,230,000 cash from the CBN.

The stolen funds from the CBN vaults were purportedly meant for the payment of foreign election observers in the 2023 general elections.

According to the Extradition Charge already filed against the suspects before the Federal High Court, Abuja, the list of exhibits already lined up by the Special Investigator against them include the following:

1. Central Bank of Nigeria, Abuja Branch withdrawal slip

2. Central Bank of Nigeria internal memo dated 07/02/2023 and 31/01/2023, respectively.

3. Staff identity card of one Jibril Abubakar

4. Letter dated 23/01/2023 purportedly written by Muhammadu Buhari to Mr Boss Mustapha

5. Letter dated 26/01/2023 purportedly written by Boss Mustapha to Mr Godwin Emefiele

6. Statement of Bashirudeen Maishanu

7. Statement of Agu Chijioke Kingsley

8. Statement of Nasiru Usman

9. Statement of Sam Oricha Adams

10. Memo by Bashir Y Ahmed

11. Statements of Abdulmajeed Muhammad

12. Statement of Godwin Emefiele

13. Statement of Samuel Chukwuyem Okojere

14. Statement of Catherine Terduo Igundunnase

The list is however subject to the tendering of any other item(s) of evidential value during suspects’ trial, if it’s expedient.

The Extradition Charge has also listed nine witnesses in the case against Emefiele’s aide and the two other suspects.

The listed witnesses are: Bashirudeen Maishanu, Abdulmajeed Muhammad, Emefiele Godwin, Samuel Chukwuyem Okojere, Catherine Terduo Igundunnase, Jim Obazee, DCP Eloho Edwin Okpoziakpo, CSP Segun Aderoju and DSP Tijjani Bako.

It however added that whenever it’s necessary, any other relevant witness may be called during the suspects’ trial.

Emefiele’s personal assistant and the two other suspects had already been slammed with a six-count charge before the Federal High Court, Abuja.

The charges read, “COUNT I
That Adamu Abubakar (now at large), Imam Abubakar (now at large), Odoh Eric Ocheme (now at large), Bashirudeen Maishanu and others also now at large, on or about the 23rd day of January 2023, at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court conspired among themselves to commit an offence contrary to paragraph 3(6) and punishable under Section 1(2)(c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.

COUNT II

“That Adamu Abubakar (now at large), Imam Abubakar (now at large), Odoh Eric Ocheme (now at large), Bashirudeen Maishanu and others also now at large, on or about the 23rd day of January 2023, at the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, conspired among themselves to commit offence to wit; Uttering forged documents and thereby committed an offence contrary to paragraph 3(6) and punishable under Section 1(2)[c] of the Miscellaneous offences Act, Cap. M17 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2010.

COUNT III

“That Adamu Abubakar (now at large), Imam Abubakar (now at large), Odoh Eric Ocheme (now at large), Bashirudeen Maishanu and others also now at large, on or about the 23rd day of January, 2023, at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, forged the following documents: (i) The Presidency, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation Identity Card in the name of Jibril Abubakar; (i) Letter dated 23rd January, 2023 purportedly written by Muhammad Buhari to the Mr. Boss Mustapha; (ili) Letter dated 26th January, 2023 purportedly written by Boss Mustapha to M.r Godwin Emefiele; (iv) Central Bank of Nigeria Internal Memo dated 31st January, 2023 purportedly written by the Director, Banking Services Department to the Governor; and (V) Central Bank of Nigeria Internal Memo dated 7th February, 2023 purportedly written by the Director, Banking Services Department to the Branch Controller, Abuja, Branch, with the intent that the Central Bank of Nigeria, Abuja Branch may in the believe that the documents are genuine be induced to pay you the sum of $6,230,000.00 and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 1(2)[c] of the Miscellaneous offences Act, Cap. M17 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2010.”

COUNT IV

“That Adamu Abubakar (now at large), Imam Abubakar (now at large), Odoh Eric Ocheme (now at large), Bashirudeen Maishanu and others also at large, on or about the 23rd day of January 2023 at the Central Bank of Nigeria, Abuja Branch, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, uttered the following documents i) The Presidency, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation identity card in the name of Jibril Abubakar (ii) Letter dated 23rd January 2023 purportedly written by Muhammadu Buhari to Boss Mustapha (iii) Letter dated 26th January 2023 purportedly written by Boss Mustapha to Mr Godwin Emefiele (iv) Central Bank of Nigeria internal memo dated 31st January 2023 purportedly written by the Director, Banking Services to the Governor and (v) Central Bank of Nigeria internal memo dated 7th February 2023 purportedly written by the Director, Banking Services Department, to the Branch Controller, Abuja Branch with the intent that the Central Bank of Nigeria, Abuja Branch may in the belief that the documents are genuine be induced to pay the sum of six million, two hundred and thirty thousand United States Dollars ($6,230,000) and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 1 (2)(c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010.

COUNT V

“That Adamu Abubakar (now at large), Imam Abubakar (now at large), Odoh Eric Ocheme (now at large) and Bashirudeen Maishanu and others also now at large, on or about the 23rd day of January 2023, at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court conspired among themselves to commit an offence to wit: Obtaining property by false pretence and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8 and punishable under Section 1 (3) & Section 10 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other fraud-related Offences Act Cap A6 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010.

COUNT VI
“That Adamu Abubakar (now at large), Imam Abubakar (now at large), Odoh Eric Ocheme (now at large), Bashirudeen Maishanu and others also now at large, on or about January 23, 2023, at the Central Bank of Nigeria, Abuja Branch, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, by false pretence that one man who held out himself as Jibril Abubakar is a Staff from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and had approval of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to source money from the Central Bank of Nigeria for foreign Election Observers, and with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of $6,230,000.00 from the Central Bank of Nigeria, Abuja Branch and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1)[a] and punishable under Section 1(3) & Section 10 of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, Cap. A6 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010.