On Friday, Godwin Emefiele, the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, faced charges of corruption and forgery at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Maitama, Abuja. Arriving at the court in an ash-coloured pair of trousers and a dark jacket, Emefiele, accompanied by his legal team and associates, was confronted with a 20-count charge.
Initially arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on six counts related to N1.2bn procurement allegations, the charges were later amended by the EFCC.
The amended charge accused Emefiele of obtaining $6.2m through pretense, falsely representing the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, a violation of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.
The charge read, “That you, Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele male, adult, and Odoh, Eric Ocheme (Still at large) on or about the 8th day of February 2023 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court knowingly obtained by false pretence, the sum of six million, two hundred and thirty thousand united state dollar ($6.230m) by falsely representing the Secretary to the Government of the Federation vide a letter dated 26th January, 2023 with Ref No. SGF.43/L.01/201 requested the Central Bank of Nigeria to provide a contingent logistic advance in the sum of $6.230m in line with Mr President’s directive, which representation you knew to be false and you thereby committed an offence.”
“That you, Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele male, adult, and Odoh, Eric Ocheme (Still at large) sometime in January 2023 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court agreed among yourselves to cause to be done an illegal act to wit: forgery of a document titled: Re: Presidential directive on foreign election observer missions, dated 26 January 2023, with Ref No. SGF.43/L.01/201 and you thereby committed an offence.”
Emefiele faced allegations of granting a corrupt advantage to his wife, Omoile Margret, and brother-in-law, Omoile Macombo, by approving a contract worth N99.8m for the renovation of a section of the CBN Governor’s residence in Koyi, Lagos. The Federal Government asserted that this action violated Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act 2000.
The charge read, “That you, Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele, male, adult, sometime in March 2020 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did use your position as governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria to confer a corrupt advantage on your wife, Omoile Margret, and brother-in-law Omoile Macombo, by awarding a contract for the external renovation of the CBN Governor’s residence lying, being and situate at No. 2 Glover Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, in the sum of N99.826m to Messrs Architekon Nigeria Limited, a company wherein the duo are directors and majority shareholders and you thereby committed an offence.”
After the case was adjourned until February for trial, Emefiele’s counsel, Mathew Bukka, SAN, expressed gratitude to Justice Hamza Muazu, the trial judge, for permitting the former CBN boss to maintain his bail until the trial begins. Bukka emphasized that his client is committed to returning to face trial on the amended charge.
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