How $6.3m was looted by ex-SGF, Boss Mustapha days before 2023 polls for election observers – Jim Obazee

How $6.3m was looted by ex-SGF, Boss Mustapha days before 2023 polls for election observers – Jim Obazee

Jim Obazee, the Special Investigator appointed by President Bola Tinubu to look into the management of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, under the lea

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Jim Obazee, the Special Investigator appointed by President Bola Tinubu to look into the management of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, under the leadership of Godwin Emefiele has recommended the trial of the former Secretary to the Government, SGF, of the Federation, and 12 top executives of the apex bank for trial over fraudulent withdrawal of $6.23 million from the CBN to allegedly pay foreign election observers.

According to Obazee, $6.3 million was allegedly removed from the vaults of Foreign Payments Office, Abuja Branch, of the CBN as captured on CCTV between February 7, and February 8, 2023.

The Special Investigator stated that he viewed the CCTV footage of the removal of the cash done about two weeks to the 2023 presidential election purportedly on the order of a letter dated January 23, 2023, with a signature mark, ‘Muhammadu Buhari’, which was sent to a government official with caption, ‘Presidential Directive on Foreign Election Observer Missions.’

This, Obazee said was followed by another letter dated January, 26, 2023, with signature mark, directed to ‘Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria’, for payment of the sum of $6.23 million as a contingent logistics advance in line with Presidential directive and another follow-up letter dated January 31, 2023, was sent to the CBN Governor requesting for approval to effect payment of the sum of $6.23 million.

Making more revelation, the Special Investigator said the fraudulent withdrawal was uncovered on the December 4, when he issued a Request for Information to the management of the CBN.

He accused the former SGF, and the top government officials of engaging in forgery, concealment, conspiracy and fraud over withdrawal of the funds.

According to the Special Investigator, an official of the CBN admitted in a written statement that he acted in collaboration with, an Assistant Director in the Banking supervision Department of the CBN and some persons he is yet to identify, to conceive and carry out the act of stealing the sum of $6.23 million out of the vault of the CBN.

He said two top CBN officials are already in custody over the incident.

“There is therefore an appearance of concealment by officers who occupied some positions up to, and around the period 7 and 8th February, 2023.”

Obazee requested the government to prosecute directors, Deputy Directors, Assistant Director and Branch Controllers over the fraudulent cash withdrawal.