Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, on Tuesday told an FCT High Court the document okaying the payment of $6.2 million to election observers did not come from his office.
Mustapha said this as a witness in the ongoing trial of suspended governor of the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, charged with alleged procurement fraud.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) charged him to court on amended 20-count charges bordering on criminal conspiracy, conferring undue advantage, breach of trust among others.
In some of the amended charge, EFCC, alleged that Emefiele, in Jan. 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.
The EFCC said Emefiele made the claim despite knowing that it was false “and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1(1) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006, and punishable under section 1(3) of the same Act.”
However, he pleaded not guilty to the charges when it was read to him.
Mustapha was led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN.
The EFCC tendered some documents to the court among which included letters from the former president, Muhammadu Buhari and the office of the SGF.
Mustapha said:”I do not know anything about this transaction.
”All through my five years and seven months as the SGF, I never came across this documents.
” On the first value of this document have served for these years, these documents did not emanate from the office of the president ” he said.
He told the court that the seal does not carry a reference number, adding the Federal Executive Council (FEC)‘s decisions are not transmitted this way but through extract after the adoption.
Mustapha said he was a custodian and the one to give the information and have not heard of the term known as ‘ special appropriation provision ‘ as contained in the documents.
” I have not heard or known this term, the two terms known to me are ‘ Appropriation ‘ as provided by the Appropriation Act and the ‘ supplementary appropriation.
” In all the correspondence I have received, the president can never bear ‘ accept my highest regards.’
” Looking at the signature, it is an attempt to reproducing the president signature, secondly, the Nigerian government does not have business funding election observers” he said.
He told the court that at a meeting he had on Jan. 18, 2023, presided over by the then vice president , Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, no payment of foreign election observers was approved.
” The letter did not emanate from the office of the SGF. If it did not emanate, it means I did not sign it.
” I do not know any one called Jubril Abubakar, a principal officer in my office who was said to be the cashier of the money on February 8, 2023″, he said.
During cross examination by Emefiele ‘s counsel, Mathew Barkka, SAN when asked if the cashier Jubril worked in his office, he said ‘ Jubril is not my staff.’
” Whoever the Jubril is should be answerable for his act. I have never discussed money for election observers with the defendant”.
After listening to the testimony, Justice Hamza Muazu adjourned until March 7, March 11 and March 25 for continuation of hearing.
Earlier, the PW2, Onyeka Ogbu who testified yesterday was cross examined he told the court that he acted based on what he saw on the paper given to him.
” I did not pay any money to the defendant, and not aware such was paid into his account .
” The money was paid to one Jubril Abubakar from the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
He said the identity card he used was neither international passport, driver licence, voter’s card nor National identification number.
Answering the question that whether everyone involved in this transaction was standing trial, he said no.
When asked if the law on money laundering allows for an individual to bear cash of such amount, he answered no.
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