Alleged $6.2m Fraud: Forensic Expert Confirms Forgery of Buhari, Mustapha’s Signatures

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Bamaiyi Haruna Mairiga, Sixth Prosecution Witness, PW6, in the trial of a former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele on Thursday, March 7, 2024 told Justice Hamza Muazu of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, High Court, Abuja, that forensic examination showed that the signatures of former President Muhammadu Buhari and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha were allegedly forged for the payment of $6.2million to foreign election observers in the 2023 General Election.

Led in evidence by prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, Mairiga, a forensic expert informed the court that forensic evaluation of the “Presidential Directive on Foreign Observers Election A” and “Presidential Directive on Foreign Observer Election A2,” which were the documents upon which the payment was made by the CBN under Emefiele, showed manifest evidence of forgery of the signatures of Buhari and Mustapha under forensic scrutiny, and a clear evidence that the seal of execution was equally fake.

“My Lord, the conclusion of the examination showed that the questioned signature marked “X-X1” had suspicious evidence of forgery or copying act, as line quality, the form, skill of execution and pen movement were found to be different from the specimen signatures marked A-A2 and B-81″, he said.

Continuing, he stressed that, “specifically, the form and formation of the disputed signature marked X and specimen signatures marked 1 were different with respect to pen movement impulses, initial and terminal strokes, loops, tremors, and individual characteristics.
“This confirms that the author of specimen signatures marked B-81 did not write the signature of Muhammadu Buhari on the disputed document marked X. Also, the form and formation of the disputed signature marked X1 and specimen signatures marked A-A2 were also different with respect to pen movement impulses, initial and terminal strokes, loops, tremors, and individual characteristics. This confirms that the author of specimen signatures marked A-A2 did not write the signature of Boss Mustapha on the disputed document marked X1 and the same was produced into a report and returned to the requesting unit”.
The “Presidential Directive on Foreign Observers Election A” and “Presidential Directive on Foreign Observer Election A2” were tendered in evidence and admitted by the court.

Under cross-examination by counsel to Emefiele, Matthew Burkaa, SAN, Mairiga revealed that he was seconded to the EFCC in 2018 from the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and that NIS remained the agency of his primary employment.
After listening to the cross-examinations, Justice Muazu discharged Mairiga from the dock and adjourned the matter till March 11, 2024.

Earlier on Monday, February 12, 2024, Ogau Onyeka Michael, a prosecution witness, had disclosed before Justice Muazu that Emefiele approved the payment of $6,230,000 (Six Million, Two Hundred and Thirty Thousand Dollars) in cash for international election observers in the 2023 General Election.

Michael, a former Abuja Branch Controller of CBN, led in evidence by Oyedepo revealed that on January 8, 2023, a request for payment in the sum of $6,230,000 came to his office and that the documents for the disbursement of the money were approved by the then CBN governor in cash for international election observers.

Similarly, another prosecution witness, Boss Gida Mustapha, former SGF on Tuesday, February 13, 2024, told Justice Muazu that neither the former President Buhari nor himself raised a memo directing the apex bank to pay the said sum to international election observers in the last general election. Mustapha told the court he never came across the transaction while he served as the SGF.
“My Lord, all through my years in service at my capacity, I never came across such a document. Having served for five years, seven months”, he said.

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