The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) commenced its case against Godwin Emefiele, the suspended Central Bank Governor, in an FCT High Court in Abuja, accusing him of procurement fraud.
The EFCC has brought forth amended charges against Emefiele, including counts of criminal conspiracy, conferring undue advantage, and breach of trust, among others, all of which he denied during his initial arraignment on November 28, 2023.
The amended charges led to a re-arraignment, during which Emefiele pleaded not guilty.
The EFCC’s First Witness, Onyeka Ogbu, a deputy director in CBN’s branch operations, testified that $6.2 million was earmarked for international election observers. Ogbu stated that upon receiving the payment request on January 8, 2023, he processed and disbursed the funds after due diligence.
However, Emefiele’s defense counsel, Matthew Burkaa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), opposed the prosecution’s request for an adjournment, insisting on immediate cross-examination of the witness.
The charges against Emefiele include allegations of forging a document titled “RE: PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE ON FOREIGN ELECTION OBSERVER MISSIONS,” and conniving to obtain $6.2 million from the CBN, among others.
The EFCC also alleges that Emefiele awarded a renovation contract for the CBN Governor’s lodge to a company in which he and another individual are directors and majority shareholders.
The EFCC initially charged Emefiele, along with Mrs. Sa’adatu Yaro and April 1616 Investment Limited, for purported breaches of the procurement Act concerning vehicle purchases.
The trial is set to continue on Tuesday as Justice Hamza Muazu adjourned the matter for further proceedings.