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HomeNewsAfricaNigerian ex-President Muhammadu Buhari's signature forged to withdraw $6m

Nigerian ex-President Muhammadu Buhari’s signature forged to withdraw $6m

Nigeria has appealed to Interpol for assistance in apprehending three suspects accused of orchestrating a $6.2 million theft from the central bank. The funds were reportedly siphoned using forged signatures, including that of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

Authorities suspect collusion between the suspects and Nigeria’s former central bank chief, Godwin Emefiele. Emefiele, already facing trial on 20 charges, including the illicit receipt of the stolen funds, maintains his innocence while out on bail.

Emefiele’s trial marks a significant anti-corruption effort under President Bola Tinubu’s administration, which began last May.

Prosecutors assert that Emefiele unlawfully authorized the release of funds from the central bank vault. Emefiele vehemently denies these allegations, labelling them as fabrications aimed at tarnishing his reputation.

The alleged accomplices, Adamu Abubakar, Imam Abubakar, and former central bank employee Odoh Ocheme, are named in reports by the state-owned News Agency of Nigeria.

The suspects are believed to have left Nigeria, prompting the authorities to seek Interpol’s help with their arrest and repatriation, the agency added.

None of the three suspects have commented on the allegations against them.

The government ordered their arrest late on Tuesday, hours after Boss Mustapha, a senior official in ex-President Buhari’s administration, testified in Mr Emefiele’s trial.

Mr Mustapha told the court in the capital, Abuja, that neither he nor Mr Buhari had given their signatures to approve the withdrawal of the $6.2m.

“Looking at the signature, it is a faint attempt at reproducing [former] President Buhari’s signature,” Mr Mustapha was quoted as telling the court by the Nation newspaper.

When shown the document used to withdraw the funds, Mr Mustapha said it “did not emanate from the office of the president”, the newspaper added.

The funds were withdrawn in cash in January last year, a few months before Mr Buhari’s term ended.

Additional sources • BBC

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