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UPDATED: Court adjourns Emefiele’s case till January 18

The FCT High Court has adjourned the to January 18, 2024, for the continuation of his trial in the alleged procurement fraud suit against the former Central Bank Of Nigeria governor, Godwin Emefiele.

The Federal Government had initially preferred 20 charges on procurement fraud to the tune of N6.5bn against the former CBN governor but was later reduced to six to the tune of over N1.2bn.

Emefiele was accused of using his position to confer a corrupt advantage on Sa’adatu Yaro, a staff of CBN, by awarding a contract for the procurement of 43 vehicles worth N1.2 billion between 2018 and 2020.

At the trial on Tuesday, an official of the Corporate Affairs Commission, Samsideen Romanus, who was led in evidence by the Counsel for the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN told the court that Emefiele was neither a shareholder nor the owner of April 1616.

He then went on to read the names of the shareholders of the Company which are Aminu Yaro, Maryam Abdullahi, and Saadatu Yaro as joint owners of the company.

He also tendered documents to support his claims.

Romanus, however, said though the company was incorporated by the CAC, the Commission was not involved in the daily runnings of the company.

Giving his testimony, the second witness, a Compliance Officer with Zenith 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; another N421,953,488 on November 6, 2020, and the sum of N304,883,720 was paid on November 23, 2020, to the same company by CBN.

Similarly, he said that N304, 883, 720 was paid on January 1, 2021, and another N304, 883, 720 was paid to the same company on March 23, 2021, by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

He told the court that none of the payments made to the company’s account had Emefiele’s name.

Ugwu also stated that he did not know the purpose of the money sent to the company’s account.

The witness also tendered several documents to support his claim that the former was not a signatory to the bank account of the company.

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 that led to the prosecution of Emefiele.

The witness explained that another committee handled the bidding because it was above the thresholds of his own Committee

Owoeye added that from records contracts for the award of vehicle supplies were awarded to April 1616, noting that he could not state whether the contracts were executed or paid for because his Committee played no role in it.

He admitted that the MCTC and Procurement Department were fully functional while Emefiele held sway as CBN governor.

After listening to testimonies, Justice Hamza Muazu adjourned until January 18 and 19, 2023.

Meanwhile, Emefiele was brought to court and taken away by armed personnel of the Nigerian Correctional Service.

This was following his inability to meet his bail conditions.

Justice Hamza Muazu had on November 22 granted Emefiele bail in the sum of N300 million.

He added the former CBN governor must produce two sureties in like sum.

The judge noted that sureties must have certificates of occupancy and titles of properties within the Maitama district in Abuja.

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