Alleged Procurement Fraud: EFCC Opens Case Against Emefiele

Posted on February 12, 2024

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday, opened its case in the trial of the suspended Central Bank Governor, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, on a 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 November 28 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 being led in evidence by the EFCC lawyer, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, said $6.2 million was kept aside for international election observers.

“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 the power to approve.

”Having gone through the documents and satisfied, I minuted 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 to Tuesday for continuation of trial.

In some of the amended charges EFCC, alleged that Emefiele, in January 2023, forged a document titled: “RE: PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE ON FOREIGN ELECTION OBSERVER MISSIONS,” dated January 26 2023 with Ref No. SGF.43/L.01/201.

The EFCC said Emefiele claimed to know 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 the SGF requested it “vide a letter dated January 26 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.”

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

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