EFCC Opens Case Emefiele On Alleged Procurement Fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has opened its case against the embattled former Governor of the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, regarding his trial over a procurement fraud charge he is facing at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Abuja.

The anti-graft commission had charged Emefiele with amended 20 counts of criminal conspiracy, conferring undue advantage, and breach of trust, among others.

However, the suspended former CBN Governor who had previously been charged with six counts and first arraigned on November 28, 2023, before the EFCC filed the amended charges necessitating a re-arraignment, denied all charges and pleaded not guilty.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the EFCC’s First Witness (PW 1) Onyeka Ogbu, a deputy director in CBN, branch operations, while being led in evidence by EFCC lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), on Monday said that $6.2 million was kept aside for international election observers.

The NAN quoted the witness as saying, “On January 8, 2023, a request for payment of 6.2 million dollars was brought to my attention by the Banking services department.

“Ours is to make payment, we don’t have power to approve. Having gone through the documents and satisfied, I minuted on it and sent it for processing and disbursement which was complied to.”

The prosecution counsel prayed to the court for the matter to be stood down to enable him to get more documents.

However, Emefiele’s lawyer, Matthew Burkaa (SAN), refused the prayer of the prosecution.

Burkaa said that an adjournment would be better for the prosecution to get all the Certified True Copies and also for the witness to be cross-examined.

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The trial judge, Justice Hamza Muazu, after listening to their submissions, adjourned the matter until Tuesday for the continuation of trial.

Meanwhile, the EFCC in some of the amended charges alleged that Emefiele in January 2023, forged a document titled: “RE: Presidential Directive On Foreign Election Observer Missions,” dated 26 January 2023 with Ref No. SGF.43/L.01/201.

The commission added that Emefiele made the claim despite knowing that it was false “and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1(1) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006, and punishable under section 1(3) of the same Act.”

The amended charge marked CR/577/2023, stated that Emefiele on February 8, 2023, connived with one Odoh Ocheme, who is now on the run, to obtain $6.2m from the CBN, claiming that it was requested by the SGF “vide a letter dated 26th January 2023 with Ref No. SGF.43/L.01/201.”

The EFCC further alleged that the contract for the renovation of the CBN Governor’s lodge, located at No. 2 Glover Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, was awarded to a company named Messrs. Architekon Nigeria Limited, “wherein the duo are directors and majority shareholders.”

According to EFCC, the offence contravened the provisions of sections 17 and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, also sections 315, 363 and 364 of the Penal Code.

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