The Federal Government has filed a revised six-count charge against Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in connection to alleged irregularities in procurement. Originally facing 20 counts amounting to N6.5 billion, the charges have been reduced to six, totaling N1.6 billion. Emefiele now stands as the sole defendant in this amended charge.
In a recent court appearance on Friday, Emefiele sought bail and asserted his innocence to the revised six-count charge. His lead counsel, Matthew Burkaa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), brought him to court in compliance with a court order. Emefiele arrived promptly for the day’s proceedings, ready to address the accusations against him.
The amended charge sheet, presented by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), alleges that Emefiele unlawfully procured 43 vehicles between 2018 and 2020, with a total value of N1.2 billion. Specific charges include the awarding of a contract for the procurement of 37 Toyota Hilux Vehicles valued at N854 million. The first count in the charge accuses Emefiele of using his position to confer a corrupt advantage on Sa’adatu Ramallan Yaro, a Central Bank of Nigeria staff, by awarding the contract to April1616 Investment Ltd, a company in which Yaro is a director.
The second count similarly accuses Emefiele of corruptly conferring an advantage on Yaro, this time for the supply of one Toyota Avalon at the cost of N99,900,000. Additional charges stem from an alleged violation of Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000, involving the award of a contract in 2019 for the supply of a Toyota Landcruiser V8 to April1616 Investment Ltd, valued at N73 million. The fourth count concerns the illegal award of a Toyota Landcruiser V8 valued at N73,800,000 to the same company.
Further allegations assert that Emefiele awarded a contract to Yaro for the supply of two Toyota Hilux Shell Specification Vehicles at the cost of N44,200,000 in 2020. The charges collectively portray a pattern of alleged corruption involving multiple contracts and transactions.
Despite the gravity of the accusations, Emefiele vehemently refutes all six charges against him. Rotimi Oyedepo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, is leading the legal team of the EFCC in prosecuting the case on behalf of the Federal Government. Justice Hamza Muazu of the Federal Capital Territory High Court has adjourned the case until November 22 to rule on Emefiele’s bail application and set November 28 for the commencement of the trial. In the interim, Emefiele has been ordered to be remanded at the Kuje Correctional Centre.
The legal proceedings against the former CBN governor will likely unfold in the coming weeks, shedding light on the intricacies of the alleged irregularities in procurement and the extent of Emefiele’s involvement. As the case progresses, the public awaits a thorough examination of the evidence and a fair trial to determine the veracity of the charges leveled against Godwin Emefiele.
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