The EFCC on Monday opened its case in the trial of the suspended Central Bank governor, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, on procurement fraud charge in an FCT High Court in Abuja.
The anti-graft agency had charged Emefiele with amended 20 counts of criminal conspiracy, conferring undue advantage, and breach of trust, among others, all of which he denied on Friday.
Emefiele was previously charged with six counts and first arraigned on 28 November 2023, before the EFCC filed the amended charges necessitating a re-arraignment.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to him.
The EFCC’s First Witness (PW 1) Onyeka Ogbu , a deputy director in CBN , branch operations, while led in evidence by EFCC lawyer, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, sais 6.2 million dollars was kept aside for international election observers.
“On Jan.8, 2023 request for payment of 6.2 million dollars was brought to my attention by the Banking services department.
” Ours is to make payment, we don’t have power to approve.
” Having gone through the documents and satisfied, I minuted on it and sent it for processing and disbursement which was complied to. ” he said.
He prayed for the matter to be stood down to enable him get more documents.
But the former CBN governor’s lawyer, Matthew Burkaa, a SAN, refused the prayer of the prosecution.
He said an adjournment would be better for the prosecution to get all the Certified true copies and also for the witness to be cross-examined.
After listening to their submissions, Justice Hamza Muazu, adjourned the matter until Tuesday for continuation of trial.
In some of the amended charges EFCC, alleged that Emefiele, in Janaury 2023, forged a document titled: “RE: PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE ON FOREIGN ELECTION OBSERVER MISSIONS,” dated 26 January 2023 with Ref No. SGF.43/L.01/201.
The EFCC said Emefiele made the claim despite knowing that it was false “and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1(1) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006, and punishable under section 1(3) of the same Act.”
According to the amended charge marked CR/577/2023, Emefiele, on February 8, 2023, 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.01/201.”
The anti-graft agency alleged that the contract for the renovation of the CBN Governor’s lodge, located at No. 2 Glover Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, was awarded to a company named Messrs. Architekon Nigeria Limited, “wherein the duo are directors and majority shareholders.”
The offence, according to EFCC, contravened the provisions of sections 17, 19 of the corrupt practices and other related offences Act, 2000, also, sections 315, 363 and 364 of the penal code.
The anti-graft agency had in August, first charged Emefiele and Mrs Sa’adatu Yaro and a company, April 1616 Investment Limited, purported to belonged to Yaro, on alleged breach of the procurement Act in respect of the purchase of some vehicles.
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