$6.2m Fra¥d: FG asks Interpol to place three Nigerians on watchlist for allegedly conspiring with Emefiele to ‘forge Buhari’s signature

The Nigerian government has requested the assistance of the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) to hunt and arrest three defendants in the alleged withdrawal of $6.2 million from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) last year through a forged document.

The office of the Special Investigator of the CBN, Jim Obazee, made the request
on Monday after obtaining an order of the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The office, through a letter by its head of operations, Eloho Okpoziakpo, named the defendants as Adamu Abubakar, Imam Abubakar and Odoh Eric Ochene.

The federal government had filed extradition charges against the trio for allegedly forging the signature of ex-President Muhammadu Buhari and documents purportedly written by Boss Mustapha, the former secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), to induce the payment of $6,230,000 from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).The fund was purportedly meant for foreign election observers.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had earlier charged Mr Ochene, who is at large, alongside former CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, before the Federal High Court in Abuja with stealing the said sum under the presence that it was requested by the presidency to pay international election observers.

The anti-graft agency alleged that on 8 February 2023, Mr Emefiele connived with Mr Ocheme to obtain $6.2 million from the CBN, claiming that the money was requested by the then Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha “vide a letter dated 26 January 2023  with Ref No. SGF.43/L.01

The anti-graft agency also alleged that Mr 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. In the letter to INTERPOL, the office of the special Investigator of the CBN requested the international police agency to “watchlist” and place the three alleged fugitives on its “red notice” with a view to arrest and repatriate them.

The special investigator had earlier obtained a warrant of arrest for the three men from the Federal High Court through a motion ex-parte it filed on 18 January. In support of the application to INTERPOL, the police have also filed a six-count charge required to activate the process of hunting and arresting the wanted men.

“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, forged the following documents: (1) The Presidency, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation Identity Card in the name of Jibril Abubakar; (ii) Letter dated 23 January, 2023 purportedly written by Muhammad Buhari to the Mr. Boss Mustapha; (ili) Letter dated 26 January, 2023 purportedly written by Boss Mustapha to Mr.Godwin Emefele

(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 ” the part of the charge sheet reads.

In a letter dated February 12, 2024, the special investigator asked Interpol to place the three suspects on red notice. The letter, signed by Eloho Okpoziakpo, the head of operations, office of the special investigator, was addressed to the assistant inspector- general of police, national central bureau (NCB) and Interpol.

“In the course of the Special Investigator’s assignment, Mr. Odoh Eric Ocheme, (a staff of the CBN) now at large and the other two accomplices, also now at large, were discovered to have conspired and forged documents in the name of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria with which they stole about US$6,230,000 (Six Million, Two Hundred and Thirty Thousand Dollars, in cash, from the coffers of the CBN,” the letter reads. On January 18, 2024, Inyang Ekwo, a judge at a federal high court in Abuja, issued a warrant of arrest against the three suspects. Ekwo issued the order following a motion moved by Celestine Odo, the counsel of the federal government. Stable

Godwin Emefiele, the former governor of CN, is also indicted in the alleged fraudulent payment of $6,230,000. It would be recalled that on Tuesday, Boss Mustapha said neither he nor ex- President Muhammad Buhari gave any approval for the disbursement of $6,230,000 to international election observers. Mustapha testified as the second prosecution witness in the trial of Emefiele.



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