• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

Emefiele: Presidency asks Interpol to arrest, repatriate CBN offical, two others over $6.2m fraud

Emefiele: The fall of a banking Czar?

The team of special investigators appointed by the President Bola Tinubu to investigate the Central Bank of Nigeria, related entities and other key government business entities has asked the International Criminal Police (INTERPOL) to place one CBN staff and two others on Red notice for allegedly conspiring to steal $6.2 million from the apex bank.

A Red Notice is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action. It is based on an arrest warrant or court order issued by the judicial authorities in the requesting country.

The request was contained in a letter with reference number CR:3000/TSI/ABJ/VOL.1/85 and dated February 12, 2024, was addressed to the Assistant Inspector-General of Police and signed by DCP Eloho Okpoziakpo, Head of Operations, Office of the Special Investigator.

According to the letter sighted by BusinessDay, Odoh Eric Ocheme, who is a staff of the CBN now at large and the other two accomplices; Adamu Abubakar and Imam Abubakar also at large, were discovered to have conspired and forged documents in the name of former President Muhammadu Buhari with which they stole about $6,230,000 in cash, from the coffers of the CBN.

“Consequent upon the above, a charge was filed and warrants of arrest have been issued by the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Abuja Division presided over by Hon. Justice I.E. Ekwo in Charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/19/2024 B/w: Federal Republic of Nigeria v. Adamu Abubakar & 2 Ors for the arrest and production of the Defendants named above for their arraignment”, the letter read.

The data page of Odoh Eric Ocheme’s Nigerian International Passport No. B50082800, duly certified true copies of the warrants and the Order of the Court to that effect were attached to the letter.

“The Special Investigator therefore pray you to use your good offices to request that the Defendants be placed on INTERPOL RED NOTICE with a view to apprehending and repatriating them from any of the INTERPOL member states to which they may have flown. While counting on your timely cooperation in this regard, kindly accept the esteemed regards of the Special Investigator, please”, the letter read.

It would be recalled that Boss Mustapha, Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, had during the trial of Godwin Emefiele, ex-CBN governor told the Federal Capital Territory High Court that former president Buhari did approve $6.3 million as payment for election observers, adding that the proposed payment documents and Buhari’s signature we’re forged.

Mustapha appeared as second prosecution witness against Emefiele who is facing a 20-count charge bordering on alleged corrupt practices and forgery.

One of the counts allege 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.

According to the amended charge marked CR/577/2023, Emefiele, on February 8, 2023, connived with Odoh Ocheme to obtain $6.2 million from the CBN, claiming that the SGF requested it “vide a letter dated 26th January 2023 with Ref No. SGF.43/L.01/201″

But the ex-SGF told Justice Muazu that he did not know anything about the transaction, adding that during his tenure as SGF until May 29, 2023, he never received any directive or memo from Buhari regarding the payment.

When he was shown a document that supposedly emanated from the then president, Mustapha highlighted discrepancies, suggesting it did not originate from the President’s office, citing the absence of a reference number, improper terminology, and the unusual ending phrase. Mustapha also asserted that there was an unsuccessful attempt to forge President Buhari’s signature on the document

Part of the charges against the CBN staff and his alleged accomplices before the high court of FCT reads: “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 23” day of January, 2023, at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, conspired among themselves to commit offence to wit; Forgery 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.

“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 23′ day of January, 2023, at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) 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.

“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; (ii) Letter dated 23rd January, 2023 purportedly written by Muhammad Buhari to the Mr. 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 31. 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 six million, two hundred and thirty thousand United States Dollars ($ 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”.