Buhari Never Authorised $6.2m for Election Observers—Boss Mustapha

February 14, 2024
boss mustapha and buhari

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The immediate past Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, has informed Justice Hamza Muazu of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Maitama, Abuja, that former President Muhammadu Buhari did not approve the withdrawal of $6.2 million from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to pay foreign election observers.

It was alleged that Mr Buhari, who left office in May 2023, signed a memo directing the CBN to pay in cash the sum of $6.2 million to international election observers in the last 2023 general election.

This revelation was made in the ongoing trial of the former Governor of the apex bank, Mr Godwin Emefiele, in court. He was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

While appearing as a prosecution witness on Tuesday, February 13, 2024, Mr Mustapha stressed that neither Mr Buhari nor himself raised the controversial memo.

“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, I can say this document did not emanate from the office of the President,” he said.

He faulted the correspondence Mr Emefiele claimed came from the President’s office with a reference number, revealing that “once a correspondence has the President’s seal, there is no need for a reference number, because the seal is the authority.”

“I have looked at it, read it, and the Federal Executive Council’s decisions are not transmitted by letters but through extracts, after conclusions were adopted.

“My Lord, I am a custodian of all records, therefore, the President cannot give me the records, and in all my years in service, I have never heard the term Special Appropriation Provision that is referred to here.

“In all the correspondence I have received from my principal, it has never ended with please accept the assurance of my highest regard. I am his subordinate, so nothing of such would emanate.

“Lastly, my Lord, the Nigerian government has nothing to do with financing foreign observers. I know for a fact because I managed two elections, so the responsibility of such lies with INEC,” the former SGF added.

Asked by the prosecution counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), in respect of exhibit PD7 which states that it was 187 FEC meeting that held on January 18, 2023, Mr Mustapha affirmed that a FEC meeting held, but it was not 187 session, but rather first meeting of the year because it was January.

“My Lord, there was a meeting and it was the first meeting not 187. It was the first meeting of the year. My Lord, all FEC meetings are normally Presided over by the President or Vice president.

“In the case of January 18, it was the Vice president that presided over the meeting because the President was not around.

“My role was to prepare the agenda of the meeting and on that day, there was a16-point agenda, and there was no agenda that had to do with foreign observers, so it did not appear on the FEC of 18 January, there was no such approval or anything else from the FEC,” he said.

Asked whether the letter for the approval of the money emanated from his office, Mr Mustapha denied any knowledge regarding it.

“My Lord, to the best of my knowledge, that letter did not emanate from my office, not to talk of signing it.

“I am saying it was not from me for the following reasons; I was not privy to the operations of CBN, so I cannot write to the governor or the director.

“Secondly, the heading is defective because it reads ref. for election observers. It presupposed that there were previous correspondences when you say ref.

“So, my Lord, it is not true because it does not carry any FEC approval. And finally, there was a reference at the end of the letter.”

“I wish to state my Lord that I am not aware of any Special Taskforce and I do not know one Jibril Abubakar, Principal Officer One, who was alleged as the coordinator of this Taskforce, so I did not introduce any Abubakar to the CBN governor,” he said.

While on cross-examination, Mr Mathiew Bukka (SAN) asked whether Mr Mustapha received any amount from the money, he said he did not receive a single dollar when he was serving and when he left office.

He denied knowledge of Knowing Abubakar, stressing that he had never met him, nor did he ever work for him, saying he knew about the scandal on social media when it was stated that the defendant and himself connived to steal the huge amount of money, and for him to protect and redeem his image and integrity before the world, he then made a Press Release exonerating himself and at the same time encouraged further investigation on getting to the root of the matter.

After his testimony, Justice Muazu adjourned the matter till March 7, 11 and 25 for the continuation of trial.

Dipo Olowookere

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

Mr Olowookere can be reached via [email protected]

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