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EFCC Opens Case Against Emefiele Over Alleged Fraud | Citizen NewsNG

ByCitizen NewsNG

Feb 13, 2024

 

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday opened its case in the trial of the suspended CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, on a procurement fraud charge in the FCT High Court.

The anti-graft agency had charged Mr Emefiele with amended 20 counts of criminal conspiracy, conferring undue advantage, breach of trust, and others, all of which he denied on Friday.

 

EFCC previously charged Mr Emefiele with six counts and first arraigned him on 28 November, 2023, before filing 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, led in evidence by EFCC lawyer Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, said $6.2 million was kept aside for international election observers.

“On 8 January, 2023, a request for payment of $6.2 million was brought to my attention by the banking services department.

”Ours is to make payment; we don’t have the power to approve. Having gone through the documents and satisfied, I minuted on it and sent it for processing and disbursement, which was complied with,” Mr Onyeka explained.

 

He prayed for the matter to be stood down to enable him to get more documents.

But the former CBN governor’s lawyer, Matthew Burkaa, a SAN, refused the prosecution’s prayer. He said an adjournment would be better for the prosecution to get all the certified true copies and for the witness to be cross-examined.

After listening to their submissions, Justice Hamza Muazu adjourned until Tuesday to continue the trial.

In some of the amended charges, EFCC alleged that Mr Emefiele, in January 2023, forged a document titled: “RE: PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE ON FOREIGN ELECTION OBSERVER MISSIONS,” dated January 26 2023, with Ref No. SGF.43/L.01/201.

The EFCC said Mr 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 8 February, 2023, connived with one Odoh Ocheme, who is now on the run, to obtain $6.2 million from the CBN, claiming that the SGF requested it “vide a letter dated 26 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 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.”

According to EFCC, the offence contravened sections 17 and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, and sections 315, 363 and 364 of the penal code.

The anti-graft agency had, in August, first charged Mr Emefiele and Sa’adatu Yaro and a company, April 1616 Investment Limited, purported to belong to Ms Yaro, on alleged breach of the procurement act in respect of the purchase of some vehicles.

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