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Documents: How $6.2m stolen from CBN within 24 hours was shared

The sum of $6,230,000 allegedly stolen from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on February 8, 2023, was shared and invested into real estate, according…

The sum of $6,230,000 allegedly stolen from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on February 8, 2023, was shared and invested into real estate, according to court documents.

The $6.2 million, according to the special presidential investigative team, led by Jim Obaze, that probed the tenure of the immediate past CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, was removed from the apex bank’s vault under the guise of paying election observers.

Emefiele is standing trial on an alleged 20-count amended charge, preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He was alleged to have engaged in criminal breach of trust, forgery, conspiracy to obtain by false pretence and obtaining money by false pretence when he served as central bank chief.

In the court documents, investigators described the theft as an insider’s job, allegedly effected by mainly, CBN officials with the connivance of two outsiders, identified as Adamu Abubakar and Imam Abubakar.

According to the documents, investigators claimed that Odoh Eric Ocheme, Emefiele’s personal assistant, received $3,730,000 of the funds, with three other people splitting the remaining $2,500,000.

Ocheme was said to have justified his lion’s share by claiming he had to pay other interests he had within the apex bank.

In one of the court documents, it was revealed that some of the beneficiaries invested their shares of the loot, estimated at about N1.4 billion in real estate, part of which has now been recovered.

In an affidavit filed along with an extradition charge pending against Adamu Abubakar, Imam Abubakar and Odoh Eric Ocheme before a Federal High Court in Abuja, one of the investigators, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, gave details of investigators’ findings and progress made so far.

Adamu Abubakar, Imam Abubakar and Ocheme are said to be at large and are believed to have fled the country.

This informed the initiation of extradition proceedings against them before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The Deputy Superintendent of Police was quoted to have said: “We commenced investigation into the case and obtained copies of the withdrawal slip as well as the accompanying documents, Central Bank of Nigeria memos, dated 07/02/2023 and 31/01/2023 respectively, staff identity card of one Jibril Abubakar, letter dated 2/01/2023 purportedly written by Muhammadu Buhari to Boss Mustapha and letter dated 20/01/2023 purportedly written by Boss Mustapha to Mr Godwin Emafiele, which the Central Bank of Nigeria, Abuja Branch relied on in making the payment.

“Investigation at the office of the President as well as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation in the Stale House revealed that the letters purportedly written by Muhammadu Buhari and for Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha did not emanate from the offices respectively, while Jibril Abubakar, whose identity card was used to cash the money in question is not a staff of the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

“We watched the Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) footages of the 08/02/2023 being the day the money in question was cashed, and the payee (Jibril Abubakar) could not be identified by the staff of either the CBN or that of the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, where he falsely represented himself to be working.

“A further study of the Closed-circuit Television (CCTV) footage revealed that a staff of the Abuja Branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria, identified as Abdulmajeed Muhammad received the impostor (Jibril Abubakar) at the gate of the bank when he arrived on the fateful date: 08/02/2023.

“Abdulmajeed Muhammad was consequently arrested and in his statement made on 15/12/2023, he admitted helping the impostor into the Abuja Branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria, but claimed that he did that innocently, the impostor having been referred to him by Bashirudeen Maishanu; a Senior Staff of the CBN.

“Abdulmajeed Muhammad further revealed that prior to 08/02/2023 when the impostor came to cash the money in question, he (Abdulmajeed Muhammad) had been invited by Bashirudeen Maishanu to explain the procedure of public officials making cash withdrawal from the CBN as those persons claimed to be officials from the office of the SGF and that the then president had approved certain fund for official assignment.

“We visited Kuje Correctional Centre, where we interviewed Godwin Emefiele, who purportedly approved the memos authorising the payment, as then CBN and he denied seeing, talk less of approving such memos.

“We also arrested some concerned staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria, who denied any involvement in the crime, before we finally arrested Bashirudeen Maishanu, who corroborated the account of Abdulmajeed Muhammad and further confessed to have been involved in the crime which, according to him was perpetrated by himself and the first to third defendants/respondents – Adamu Abubakar, Imam Abubakar and Odoh Eric Ocheme.

“Bashiru Maishanu further confessed that himself, the first and second defendants/respondents (Adamu Abubakar and Imam Abubakar) shared the sum of $2,500,000.00 from the stolen money, while the third defendant/respondent (Odoh Eric Ocheme), being a fellow staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria, kept the balance of $3,730,000.00 claiming that he had other interests to settle in the CBN.
“Bashirudeen Maishanu further confessed that both himself, and the first and second defendants/respondents jointly invested the United States dollars equivalent of the sum of N1, 440,000,000.00 into real estate business of Afrolyk Global Ltd.

“The Managing Director of the said Afrolyk Ltd, Aminu Lawal has been arrested and he confirmed the investment by Bashirudeen Maishanu, Adamu Abubakar and Imam Abubakar, and already refunded the sum of $200 000 00 to the Special Investigator’s team as part of the money he (Aminu Lawal) received as part of the purported investment.

“Cash of about $400,000 00 has also been voluntarily returned by Bashiru Maishanu from part of his remaining share of the money in question. The money (the $6,230,000) was received in cash from the Central Bank at Nigeria and also shared in the same cash by the defendants/respondents and others, making it difficult to trace the monies without arresting the defendants/respondents.

“It was later revealed that the third defendant – Odoh Eric Ocheme – was the Personal Assistant to Godwin Emefiele as the CBN governor while the first and second defendants (Adamu Abubakar and Imam Abubakar) are businessmen and associates of Bashirudeen Maishanu.”

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