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Buhari, Ex-SGF’s Signatures Forged To Move $6.2m From CBN -Forensic Expert

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A forensic document examiner seconded to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Bamaiyi Haruna on Thursday said the analysis conducted on the documents used to release $6.2m from the Central Bank of Nigeria in February 2023 showed that they were forged.

The EFCC had alleged that on February 8, 2023, a former CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, connived with one Odoh Ocheme, who is now on the run, to obtain $6.2m from the CBN, claiming that it was requested by the SGF “vide a letter dated 26th January 2023 with Ref No. SGF.43/L.01/.

The anti-graft agency also alleged that Emefiele, in January 2023, forged a document titled:  dated 26 January 2023 with Ref No. SGF.43/L.01/201.

At the last adjourned date, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, noted that the documents did not emanate from former President Muhammadu Buhari or his office.

Mustapha also told the court that the Federal Government had no business with foreign election observers.

Haruna, who is the sixth prosecution witness in the matter, stated that the real signatures of Buhari and the ex-SGF were analysed with the ones in the documents were not the same.

He said, “The conclusion from the analysis revealed that the disputed documents showed evidence of forgery and copying art as the pen movement form and formation of the signatures and the skill of execution were found to be different from that of the specimen signatures A to A2 and B to Bi

“The form and formation of the signatures marked x and the specimen signature marked B to B1 were found to be different in respect of pen movement impulses, skill of execution, loop formation, and presence of tremors, there were individual characteristics. This is a confirmation that the author of the specimen signatures marked B to B1 does not rhyme with the signature of Buhari on the disputed document marked X.

“Also, the form and formation of the disputed signatures marked X1 and Specimen signature A2 were also found to be different in respect to pen movement impulses. Initial and terminal strokes, loop formation, presence of tremors, and individual characteristics. This is also a confirmation that the author of the specimen signature marked A2 did not rhyme with the signature of Boss Mustapha on the disputed document marked X1.”

Counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo(SAN), applied to the court to tender the forensic report dated January 25, 2024, and other documents attached as exhibits.

Emefiele’s lawyer, Mathew Burkaa (SAN), did not oppose.

Justice Hamza Muazu subsequently admitted as evident and marked them exhibits FDE.

During cross-examination, Burkaa asked how would the court determine whether two signatures are similar or dissimilar.

The witness urged the court to rely on the report.

When asked if Emefiele’s signature was analysed, he said no.

Also asked if EFCC operatives submitted the materials analysed, Haruna said, “Operatives of EFCC submitted the request to the department. ”

Burkaa asked if they were the ones who pointed out the disputed signatures.

He said, “The submitting authority did”.

The matter was subsequently adjourned till March 11.

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Disparaging Dangote Uncalled For, Creating Bad Waves For Nigeria – AFDB President, Adesina

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The president of the African Development Bank Group, Akinwumi Adesina, has spoken out in defence of the Dangote Refinery, addressing concerns about potential monopolistic practices.

In a statement shared by businessman Femi Otedola on Tuesday via X, Adesina expressed his shock at the controversy surrounding Dangote’s operations, warning that it is “creating bad waves for Nigeria globally.”

According to Otedola’s post, Adesina argued that monopolies often arise in industries with high entry barriers or capital costs, citing railways and large-scale refineries as examples.

He was quoted as saying, “Monopoly often exists where there are high barriers to entry or high capital costs. How many individuals or companies can do railways? How many can do refineries of the scale of Dangote Refineries? In a nation that has been importing refined petroleum products for several decades, the abnormal simply became very normal.”

The AfDB President emphasised the significant investment made by Dangote, stating, “No smart investor would make a $19.5 billion investment and want it to be undermined by importers.”

He highlighted manufacturing challenges in Nigeria, describing the business environment as fraught with policy uncertainties and reversals.

“To manufacture is extremely expensive and risky. This is even more so in Nigeria, given the very challenging business and economic environment, fraught with policy uncertainties and policy reversals, and where the self-defeating default mode of “simply import it” is always so easily rationalized and chorused to solve any problem,” he said.

Addressing concerns about anti-competitive practices, Adesina said, “Competition is good for everyone. But is Dangote refineries anti-competitive? What is the evidence? Has Dangote Refineries prevented any other company from setting up refineries? Why have others not done so? How come they have not done so for several decades?

“Was it Dangote that held them back? But Dangote refineries surely cannot be asked to ‘compete’ with importers of petroleum products. That is not competition. Let the importers set up local refineries and compete by refining in Nigeria. That is fair and justified competition.”

Adesina stressed the broader economic implications of the refinery, stating, “We cannot and must not undermine, disparage or kill local industries, talk less of one that is of this scale — a jewel of industrialisation in Nigeria. It is more than simply delivering the cheapest product to the market.

“It is about domestic supply security, driving (and yes, protecting) globally competitive industries, maximising forward and backward linkages in the local economy, job creation, reducing forex expenses and shoring up the Naira. We must not be myopic.

“This whole disparaging of Dangote is uncalled for. It is self-defeating. And it is very bad for Nigeria. Who will want to come and invest in a country that disparages and undermines its own largest investor? Investing is tough. Pettiness is easy. It sadly sends a signal that the price for sacrificing for Nigeria is to get sacrificed.”

 

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BBC To Cut 500 Jobs As It Attempts To Save £200m For ‘Transformation’ Of The Corporation

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The BBC has announced plans to cut 500 jobs as it attempts to save £200 million to drive the “transformation” of the corporation.

Chief operating adviser, Leigh Tavaziva said it is making the changes to improve its premium video offering and digital capabilities.

It comes as the BBC is already attempting to save £500 million as part of a plan announced two years ago.

Tavaziva said “significant activity” is already underway to make the corporation “more flexible”.

She said: “In March this year we announced a requirement for an additional £200 million of savings and reinvestment plans to drive the continued transformation of the BBC.

“This will support greater investment into premium video content and further develop our digital capabilities.”

She added: “To further build our digital capabilities, whilst targeting efficiencies, over the next two years we will continue to close and transfer roles in some areas and create new roles in growth areas.

“This will result in a forecast net reduction of 500 roles in the public service by March 26, with further growth in targeted areas planned in our commercial group.

“To support these changes we will today be launching a new voluntary redundancy scheme for staff.

“Our priority remains to protect and champion the BBC’s fighting role as the UK’s public service broadcaster, for all our audiences both local and global.

“I would like to thank all colleagues for their continued efforts and commitments over the past 12 months.

“I am immensely proud of the exceptional content creativity, delivery, and innovation that our teams both provide and support every day.”

The BBC announced in March 2023 that it was to cut 1,000 hours of TV in order to save money, with half of that coming from sport.

In the same year, the corporation announced it was scrapping its in-house chamber choir, the BBC Singers, and reducing salaried orchestral posts across the BBC English Orchestras by around 20%.

In December 2022 it said that it was making £11m worth of cuts in local radio, which saw its 39 stations required to share content and broadcast less localised content.

Back in 2016, the BBC said it needed to cut £800m worth of costs, with £80m of that coming from news.

The move saw the Andrew Neil Show axed in 2020, along with 450 jobs in English regional TV news and current affairs, local radio and online news.

 

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I Have No Blending Plant Outside Nigeria, NNPC Boss Kyari Replies Dangote

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The Group Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Mele Kyari has said he does not own a blending plant outside Nigeria.

Kyari stated this on Tuesday, July 23, while reacting to claims that some officials of the NNPC have blending plants in Malta.

Reacting in a post on his X handle (formerly Twitter), Kyari said he had been inundated with calls from family members and friends, asking if he truly owns a blending plant in Malta.

Kyari stated that he does not own or operate any business directly or by proxy anywhere in the world except a local mini-agricultural venture.

He also said he is not aware of any employee of the NNPC that owns or operates a blending plant in Malta or anywhere else in the world.

“I am inundated by enquiries from family members, friends and associates on the public declaration by the President of Dangote Group that some NNPC workers have established a blending plant in Malta thereby impeding procurements from local production of Petroleum products.

“To clarify the allegations regarding the blending plant, I do not own or operate any business directly or by proxy anywhere in the world with the exception of a local mini Agric venture, neither am I aware of any employee of the NNPC, that owns or operates a blending plant in Malta or anywhere else in the world.

“A blending plant in Malta or any part of the world has no influence over NNPC’s business operations and strategic actions.”

The NNPC boss threatened to sanction any official of the NNPC involved in such acts if they truly exist.

 

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