Emefiele denies alleged unlawful Naira redesign charge, gets N300m bail

Immediate past Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele on Wednesday denied any wrongdoing in redesigning the nation’s currency, the Naira in 2022.

Emefiele made the denial when he pleaded not guilty to the four count charge preferred against him before Justice Maryanne Anenih of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, sitting in Maitama, Abuja.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in the four count charge, claimed that Emefiele embarked on the Naira redesign without the approval of the Board of the CBN as well as then President, Muhammadu Buhari.

Specifically, the EFCC is accusing Emefiele of approving the printing of various quantities of the new Naira notes “without the recommendation of the Board of Central Bank and the strict approval of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria which conduct of yours caused injury to the public and you thereby committed an offence”.

In count one, he was accused of approving the printing of 375,520,000 notes at the cost of N11 billion, and in count two, he was accused of approving the printing of 172 million coloured swapped N500 notes at the cost of N4.4 billion.

Also, in count three, the former CBN boss was alleged to have approved for printing 137,070 pieces of coloured N200 notes at the cost of N3.4 billion.

In count four, he was alleged to have withdrawn the sum of N124, 860, 227, from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation in a manner not prescribed by the National Assembly.

He pleaded not guilty to all four counts and his lawyer, Mahmud Magaji, SAN, then moved his bail application, drawing attention to an earlier bail granted by Justice Hamza Muazu of the same FCT High Court, Maitama.

Ruling in the bail application, Justice Anenih, who observed that a defendant is entitled to bail and presumed innocent until proven otherwise, held that there was cogent and compelling reason to grant the application and subsequently admitted Emefiele to bail in a similar sum and conditions granted by Justice Muazu, with slight modification.

It will be recalled that Justice Muazu had admitted Emefiele to bail in the sum of N300 million with two sureties in like sum.

The sureties according to her must be responsible citizens, and own property worth the bail bonds within the FCT.

Besides, the property documents must be verified and deposited with the court registry pending the determination of the case.

However, in adopting the ruling of the other judge, Justice Anenih added that the two sureties must deposit two recent passport photos alongside their National Identity cards or international passports and that Emefiele should not travel outside the country without the permission of the court.

She subsequently fixed May 28 for commencement of trial.

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