…Court Grants Him Freedom to Leave FCT Like rainfall, trouble is weekly falling on the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr. Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele as the Federal Government on Thursday, again amended the charges against him on offences allegedly committed while in office. Earlier, the Federal Government had slammed a six
…Court Grants Him Freedom to Leave FCT
Like rainfall, trouble is weekly falling on the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr. Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele as the Federal Government on Thursday, again amended the charges against him on offences allegedly committed while in office.
Earlier, the Federal Government had slammed a six – count charge bordering on forgery, conferring of corrupt advantage, and criminal breach of trust , it was amended and increased to 20 count charge.
The amended charges against Mr. Emefiele now includes criminal breach of trust, forgery, conspiracy to commit forgery, procurement fraud and conspiracy to commit felony.
But the courts did not leave him helpless in the cold, the former top banker was granted permission to travel out of FCT
by Justice Hamza Muazu of the Federal Capital Territory High Court.
The court said Mr. Emefiele must, however, remain in the country. His counsel ,Mr. Mathew Bukka, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) had requested a variation of the terms and the Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, did not object.
Mr. Emefiele is currently facing a six – count charge valued at N1.2bn following the initial 19 -count charge of N6.9bn which was withdrawn and reduced to six.
However, in the amended charge, Mr. Emefiele was accused of obtaining $6.2m by pretence by falsely representing the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
According to the federal government,the offence was 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.
The charge read : “That you, Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele male, adult, and Odoh, Eric Ocheme (Still at large) on or about the 8th day of February 2023 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court knowingly obtained by false pretence, the sum of Six Million, Two Hundred and Thirty Thousand United State Dollar ($6,230,000.00) by falsely representing that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation vide a letter dated 26th January, 2023 with Ref No. SGF.43/L.01/201 requested the Central Bank of Nigeria to provide a contingent logistic advance in the sum of $6,230,000.00 “in line with Mr. President’s directive” which representation you knew to be false and you thereby committed an offence.”
Mr. Emefiele was also accused of conniving with one Eric Ocheme who has been at large to commit forgery.
The offence was contrary to section 96 (1) and punishable under section 364 of the Penal Code Law, Cap 89 Laws Federation, 1990.
Another count reads: “That you, Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele male, adult, and Odoh, Eric Ocheme (Still at large) sometime in January 2023 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court agreed amongst yourselves to cause to be done an illegal act to wit: forgery of a document titled: RE: PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE ON FOREIGN ELECTION OBSERVER MISSIONS dated 26 January 2023 with Ref No. SGF.43/L.01/201 and you thereby committed an offence.”
Mr. Emefiele was also accused of conferring corrupt advantage on his wife Omoile Margret and Brother In-law Omoile Macombo by awarding a contract for the renovation of a portion of the CBN Governor’s residence in Lagos to the tune of N99.8m.
According to the government , the offence was contrary to Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.
Another charge reads: “That you, Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele, male, adult, sometime in March 2020 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did use your position as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria to confer a corrupt advantage on your wife, Omoile Margret, and brother-in-law Omoile Macombo by awarding a contract for the external renovation of the CBN Governor’s Residence lying, being and situate at No. 2 Glover Road, Ikoyi, Lagos in the sum of 99,826,452.47 to Messrs. Architekon Nigeria Limited, a company wherein the duo are directors and majority shareholders and you thereby committed an offence. ”
Mr. Emefiele’s counsel, Mr. Bukka, pleaded with the court for time, adding that the amended charge was served on them on Wednesday.
The trial judge, Justice Muazu, adjourned the matter till Friday January 19, for fresh plea of Emefiele to be taken in the new charges.
Last June, Mr. Emefiele was first taken into custody by the Department of State Services (DSS) following his suspension as the CBN governor by President Bola Tinubu.
The DSS spokesperson Peter Afunanya who confirmed the arrest said: “The Department of State Services (DSS) hereby confirms that Mr Godwin Emefiele, the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is now in its custody for some investigative reasons.
“The public, particularly the Media, is enjoined to apply utmost caution in the reportage and narratives concerning this.”
After his arrest, Mr. Emefiele approached the FCT High Court in Abuja, challenging his detention by the DSS.
While delivering ruling on the fundamental human right suit file by Mr. Emefiele, Justice Muazu had issued a one-week ultimatum to DSS to either charge him to Court or set him free.