Emefiele: Witness confirms $6.2m unlawful payment for foreign election observers

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Deputy Director in Charge of Branch Operations, Mr. Onyeaka Ogbu, has revealed that he is aware of a $6.2 million payment request for international election observers.

Ogbu made this known on Monday as a prosecution witness at a Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja, stating that the ‘unlawful removal’ was made on January 8, 2023.

The ex-governor of Nigeria’s apex bank, Godwin Emefiele, is facing trial on an amended list of 20 charges bordering on criminal conspiracy, conferring undue advantage, and breach of trust, among others, preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Ogbu said: “On January 8, 2023, a request for payment of $6,230, 000 was brought to my attention by the Banking Services Department.

“Ours is to make payment; we don’t have the power to approve.

“Having gone through the documents and been satisfied, I minuted on it and sent for processing and disbursement, which was complied with.”

Persecondnews recalls that the special investigation panel on the CBN and related entities disclosed this in its final report, titled ‘Report of the Special Investigation on the CBN and Related Entities (Chargeable Offences)’, submitted to President Bola Tinubu.

Jim Obazee, the special investigator who the president appointed to look into the actions of the financial regulator under Emefiele, served as the panel’s chair.

According to the report, the funds withdrawn from the foreign payments office, CBN’s Abuja branch, were “purportedly for foreign election observer missions.”.

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The panel said the physical acts of the “unlawful removal” were captured on closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage, “which was viewed and preserved.”

The report said a letter, dated January 23, 2023, with the signature of former President Muhammadu Buhari, was sent to Mr. Boss Mustapha, the erstwhile Secretary to the Government of the Federation, with the caption, “Presidential Directive on Foreign Election Observer Missions.”

After listening to submissions from Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), the prosecution counsel, and Mr. Matthew Burkaa (SAN), the defendants counsel, Justice Hamza Muazu, adjourned until Tuesday for the continuation of trial.

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