Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele, was finally arraigned on corruption charges by the Federal Government on Friday, Nov. 17, at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory.
The original charge, which was 20 counts to the tune of N6.5 billion, has been reduced to six, to the tune of N1.6 billion. Emefiele is the only defendant in the new charge.
The trial has been stalled three times so far. On Wednesday, Nov. 15, the trial was stalled due to the nationwide strike action embarked upon by organised labour.
Today, Nov. 17, Emefiele was brought to court for arraignment by his lead counsel Mathew Burkaa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, in compliance with an order of court.
The former apex bank head, who was accused of conferring corruption advantages on a staff of CBN, Mrs Saadat Ramalan Yaro, through awards of various contracts, however, denied the six count charges.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN, Rotimi Oyedepo, led the legal team of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, which is prosecuting the defendant on behalf of the Federal Government.
According to the amended charge sheet, the charges still border on procurement fraud. The Federal Government alleged that Emefiele illegally bought 43 vehicles between 2018 and 2020 worth N1.2 billion. He was also accused of awarding a contract for the procurement of 37 Toyota Hilux Vehicles valued at N854 million.
Count one read, “That you, Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele, male, adult, sometime in 2018 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 Sa’adatu Ramallan Yaro, a staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria by awarding a contract for the supply of 37 Toyota Hilux Vehicles at the cost of N854,700,000 only to April1616 Investment Ltd, a company in which the said Sa’adatu Ramallan Yaro is a director and thereby committed an offence.”
In the second count, Emefiele was accused of using his position to corruptly confer an advantage on Yaro, “a staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria by awarding a contract for the supply of one Toyota Avalon at the cost of N99,900,000 only to April1616 Investment Ltd, a company in which the said Sa’adatu Ramallan Yaro Director and thereby committed an offence.”
He was also accused of conferring corrupt advantage contrary to Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000 by awarding a contract for the supply of one Toyota Landcruiser V8 April1616 Investment Ltd., in 2019 at the cost of N73 million.
The fourth count was about a Toyota Landcruiser V8 valued at N73,800,000 awarded illegally to April 1616 Investment Ltd.
The Federal Government further accused the former CBN governor of also awarding a contract to Yaro for the supply of two Toyota Hilux Shell Specification Vehicles at the cost of N44,200,000 in 2020.
Justice Hamza Muazu of the Federal Capital Territory High Court adjourned the case till November 22 for ruling on the bail application of Emefiele and November 28 for the commencement of trial.
In the interim, he ordered that Emefiele be remanded at the Kuje Correctional Centre.