The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mohammed Abubakar, has revealed why the embattled suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, and his co-defendant were absent from court Wednesday.
Goldennewsng recalls the federal government filed a N6.9 billion 20-count charge bordering on alleged breach of procurement laws and contract inflation on the suspects.
However, the arraignment scheduled for Wednesday by a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory was not stated on the court’s cause list.
Similarly, Emefiele and his co-defendant, Saadat Yaro, were not in court, nor was any unusual security presence observed around the court premises.
The lawyers of the parties involved were also not present in court.
This was the second time Emefiele and Ramallan-Yaro’s scheduled arraignment was stalled.
Reports had emerged that Emefiele allegedly opted for a plea bargain with the federal government in the charges against him.
Sources privy to the development said Emefiele and his his-co accused, Saadat Yaro, have opted for a plea bargain policy to settle with the government
But speaking to Premium Times on Thursday in Abuja, the DPP explained that Emefiele was not arraigned on Wednesday because of safety concerns around the court.
Abubakar said: “You remember at the last sitting, some angry persons mobilized to the court threatening to lynch him (Mr Emefiele).
“We were ready to bring the defendants to court for arraignment on Wednesday, but we received an intelligence report that some people were out to foment trouble. So, we had to shelve the arraignment.”
While insisting that a plea bargain deal has come up in the case, Abubakar said neither Emefiele, his co-defendant, nor the prosecution had suggested a plea agreement.
“As far as we are concerned, there is no such application for plea bargain before the Ministry of Justice,” he said.
He, however, added that the law provides for a plea bargain, and if “there is any such request, it would be considered.”
Goldennewsng reports that a plea bargain is a legal process that allows a defendant charged with an offense in court, usually before a trial begins or gets to an advanced stage, to plead guilty to a lesser crime to get a softer sentence.