Home Courts CBN fraud: EFCC invites three witnesses in Emefiele trial

CBN fraud: EFCC invites three witnesses in Emefiele trial


On Tuesday, the trial of the Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Godwin Emefiele, began, with the EFCC calling three witnesses.

The EFCC charged Mr Emefiele with six counts bordering on alleged breach of procurement procedure in awarding a contract to April1616 Investment Limited.

The anti-graft agency had, in August, first charged Emefiele and Sa’adatu Yaro and a company, April 1616 Investment Limited, purported to belong to Ms Yaro, on alleged breach of the Procurement Act in respect of the purchase of some vehicles.

However, the arraignment could not go on because of the reported ill health of Ms Yaro.

When the matter was called, EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, drew the court’s attention to an amended charge dated November 8, 2023. In the new charge, Mr Emefiele was the sole defendant, and the charge was reduced from 20 to six, to which Emefiele pleaded not guilty.

At the resumed trial, the first prosecution witness (PW 1), Shamsudeen Abulili, testified. The witness, an officer of the Corporate Affairs Commission, gave evidence on how April 1616 Investment Limited was incorporated on August 1, 2016, with RC 1350837 and tendered several documents on how the company was floated.

He listed the names of its shareholders to include Aminu Idris Yaro, with 500,000 shares; Maryam Aliyu Abdullahi, 350,000; and Ms Yaro, 150,000. He said the total share was one million at N1 each.

Led in evidence by EFCC counsel Rotimi Oyedepo, the witness said Mr Emefiele’s name was not connected with the company. The witness explained that although CAC was responsible for the company’s incorporation, it had no role in running the entity’s affairs.

The second witness, Remigious Ugwu, a compliance officer with Zenith Bank, told the court how the CBN paid several millions of naira into the account of April1616 Investment Limited.

Specifically, he told the court how on October 19, 2020, N39, 060, 465. Another N421,953,488 was paid on November 6, 2020, and the third one, N304,883,720, was paid on November 23, 2020, to the same company by CBN.

Similarly, he said 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 CBN.

He admitted that none of the payments had any link to Mr Emefiele and that he did not know the purpose of the payments.

The witness who tendered various documents on behalf of the bank said that the former CBN governor was not a signatory to the company’s bank account.

The third witness, Oluwole Owoeye, a deputy director (banking services) with CBN and former secretary to the Major Contract Tendering Committee of the CBN, told the court that MCTC was responsible for ensuring compliance with the Procurement Act in the award of contracts.

When cross-examined by Emefiele ‘s counsel, Matthew Burkaa, Mr 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 Mr Emefiele.

The witness explained that another committee handled the bidding because it was above the thresholds of the MCTC.

“My Lord, all I know is through our records is that contracts for award of vehicle supplies were awarded to April1616 but I cannot say whether the contracts were executed or paid for because my Committee played no role,” Mr Owoeye told the court.

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

After listening to the testimonies, Justice Hamza Muazu adjourned until January 18 and 19, 2024.

The suspended CBN governor was accused of conferring corrupt advantages on a staff of CBN, Ms Yaro, through awards of vehicle supply contracts worth over N1.2 billion contrary to section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.




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