February 21, 2024

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, on Tuesday, opened its case in the N1.2bn procurement fraud trial of the immediate-past Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele.

The trial opened before the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja, with the EFCC calling three witnesses.

The embattled ex-CBN helmsman was brought to court from the custodial facility of the Kuje Correctional Centre in Abuja, indicating that he had yet to meet the N300m bail granted him last week by the court.

The PUNCH reports that the EFCC arraigned Emefiele last week on six counts, wherein he was alleged to have committed the N1.2bn procurement fraud during his time as the CBN governor.

At the resumed proceedings on Tuesday, the prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), called an official of the the Corporate Affairs Commission,

Samsideen Romanus, as the first witness.

In his testimony, the CAC official told the court that Emefiele was neither a shareholder nor the owner of April 1616, a company he was alleged to have used his office to illegally favour in the procurement process.

He listed the names of the shareholders as Aminu Yaro, Maryam Abdullahi, and Saadatu Yaro.

The second witness, a compliance officer with a commercial bank, Remigious Ugwu, told the court how various sums of money in millions of naira were paid by the CBN into the April 1616 Investment Limited.

Ugwu said a sum of N39,060,465 was paid on October 19, 2020; N421,953,488 on November 6, 2020, and N304,883,720 on November 23, 2020; N304, 883, 720 on January 1, 2021; and N304, 883, 720 on March 23, 2021, by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

He told the court that none of the payments had Emefiele’s name, adding that he did not know the purpose of the payments.

The third witness, Deputy Director, Banking Services with CBN and former Secretary to the Major Contract Tendering Committee of the CBN, Oluwole Owoeye, said that his body was responsible for ensuring compliance with the Procurement Act.

But when cross-examined by Emefiele ‘s counsel, Matthew Burkaa (SAN), Owoeye informed the court that his committee was not involved in the vetting of bidding for the award of contracts over which Emefiele is being prosecuted.

Justice Hamza Muazu adjourned further proceedings till January 18 and 19, 2024.

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