The EFCC on Monday opened its case in the trial of the suspended Central Bank Governor (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, on procurement fraud charge in an FCT High Court in Abuja.
The anti-graft agency had charged Emefiele with amended 20 counts of criminal conspiracy, conferring undue advantage, and breach of trust, among others, all of which he denied on Friday.
Emefiele was previously charged with six counts and first arraigned on 28 November 2023, before the EFCC filed the amended charges necessitating a re-arraignment.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to him.
The EFCC’s First Witness (PW 1) Onyeka Ogbu , a deputy director in CBN , branch operations, while led in evidence by EFCC lawyer, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, sais 6.2 million dollars was kept aside for international election observers.
“On Jan.8, 2023 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. ” he said.
He prayed for the matter to be stood down to enable him get more documents.
But the former CBN governor’s lawyer, Matthew Burkaa, a SAN, refused the prayer of the prosecution.
He said an adjournment would be better for the prosecution to get all the Certified true copies and also for the witness to be cross-examined.
After listening to their submissions, Justice Hamza Muazu, adjourned the matter until Tuesday for continuation of trial.
In some of the amended charges EFCC, alleged that Emefiele, in Janaury 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 EFCC said 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.”
According to the amended charge marked CR/577/2023, 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 anti-graft agency 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.”
The offence, according to EFCC, contravened the provisions of sections 17, 19 of the corrupt practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, also, sections 315, 363 and 364 of the penal code.
The anti-graft agency had in August, first charged Emefiele and Mrs Sa’adatu Yaro and a company, April 1616 Investment Limited, purported to belonged to Yaro, on alleged breach of the procurement Act in respect of the purchase of some vehicles.
Hardship: Naira Is Stabilising, FG’s Reforms Yielding Positive Results – Information Minister
…Insists FG Will Go After Saboteurs
Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, says the Nigerian Government is identifying and sanctioning individuals sabotaging the economy.
The minister noted that the removal of the petrol subsidy was one policy decision that all the three major candidates agreed on in their campaign messages.
He said it was mystifying to see people who had argued stridently for the removal of subsidy now pretending to be against it, noting that such insincerity does not bode well for the country.
Idris insisted that the President’s policies are yielding positive results.
He, however, said that the government was not under any illusion that the policies are silver bullets, or that nothing else is required.
Stressing that the government will not allow its efforts to be jeopardised, the minister said regulatory and enforcement agencies have been working round the clock in the past few days to identify, investigate and sanction those involved in illegal activities and sabotage within the forex market.
“As respected economists and experts have acknowledged, these foundational reforms will be difficult and painful for Nigerians in the short-term,” the Minister said in a statement he signed and made available to journalists in Abuja on Friday.
“The problems that we are solving are no doubt multifaceted, intertwined, and deep-rooted, requiring creative, strategic, decisive, and multi-pronged solutions. These bold moves being implemented are in full alignment with what is required.
“It is heartwarming to note that we are starting to see the results. Indeed, the naira is stabilizing, and the foreign exchange market is seeing a surge of inflows.
“Sadly, as with any effort to reform and sanitise a system entrenched in long-term malpractice, the CBN’s efforts have been met with ferocious resistance from speculators and other unscrupulous players within and outside our country, who profit from dysfunction and opacity.
“To tackle this, regulatory and enforcement agencies of government have been working round the clock in the past few days, joining forces to address these efforts at undermining the reforms.
“That strategic alliance has led to the intelligence-led identification, investigation and sanctioning of individuals and organizations involved in illegal activities and sabotage within the forex market.
“Relevant regulatory and security agencies have been directed to remain vigilant to ensure that malpractices capable of undermining our currency are averted and that those engaged in these acts are brought to book. The government will not allow its efforts to be jeopardised
BREAKING: INEC Publishes Report Of 2023 General Election
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has released its report on the 2023 general election.
The commission said the publication of the report is in keeping with its tradition over the last four electoral cycles and commitment to transparency.
This was made known in a statement by Sam Olumekun, the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee.
Olumekun said the Report showcases the election’s unparalleled diversity in party representation, demonstrating significant democratic progress.
According to him, the 2023 general election saw four political parties winning gubernatorial races, seven parties winning senatorial seats, eight in federal constituencies and nine in State legislatures, illustrating a broad shift in political representation across Nigeria.
He said the document has been made accessible on its website and social media platforms.
“On Thursday, 22nd February 2024, the Commission convened for its weekly meeting, where the 2023 General Election Report was reviewed and approved for publication.
It partly read: “In keeping with our tradition over the last four electoral cycles, and our commitment to transparency, we are pleased to announce the release of the official INEC report on the 2023 General Election.
“This comprehensive 526-page document, structured into 13 chapters and enhanced with 60 tables, 14 boxes and 10 graphs, offers an in-depth analysis of the election’s key processes, achievements, and challenges, alongside valuable lessons learned.
“The Report showcases the election’s unparalleled diversity in party representation, demonstrating significant democratic progress. This election saw four political parties winning gubernatorial races, seven parties winning senatorial seats, eight in federal constituencies and nine in State legislatures, illustrating a broad shift in political representation across Nigeria.
“The Report underscores the pivotal role of technological advancements, particularly the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), in enhancing electoral integrity and reducing fraud. Furthermore, it addresses public concerns about the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal, explaining the technical issues encountered during the upload of polling unit results for the presidential election.
JUST IN: Okpebholo Declared Winner Of Edo APC Gov’ship Primary
Senator Monday Okpebholo has been declared winner of the All Progressives Congress (APC) primary election for the September 2024 governorship election in Edo State.
Okpebholo scored 12, 433 votes to emerge winner.
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