Procurement fraud: Court adjourns Emefiele’s case till January 18

A FEDERAL High Court, sitting in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), on Tuesday, November 28, adjourned the procurement fraud suit against former Central Bank of Nigeria’s governor,  Godwin Emefiele, till January 18, 2024.

Emefiele is being arraigned on a six-count charge at an FCT High Court by the Federal Government.

The Federal Government said in the new charge sheet that the former CBN chief unlawfully purchased 43 vehicles for N1.2 billion between 2018 and 2020.

He was charged with ordering 37 Toyota Hilux vehicles, totalling N854 million.

He was also charged with giving corrupt benefits in violation of Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Act (2000) when he granted N73 million for the supply of a single Toyota Landcruiser in 2019.

Although the initial 20-count charge, totalling N6.5 billion, was lowered to six, Emefiele continued to plead not guilty to the charge, including the alleged procurement fraud against him by the Federal Government when he appeared in court on Friday, November 17, to request bail.

At the resumed hearing, a top official of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), serving as the prosecution witness, informed the court that Emefiele was not the owner or a shareholder of the April 1616 Investment Limited, awarded N1.2bn vehicle supply contract by CBN under Emefiele.

During a cross-examination by the EFCC lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, the witness, whose name was not revealed in court, presented several documents detailing how the company was formed on August 1, 2016. 

He also read out the names of the company’s shareholders, including Aminu Yaro, Maryam Abdullahi, and Saadatu Yaro, as joint owners of the entity.

Emefiele’s lawyer, Mathew Burkaa, said his client had not fulfilled his bail conditions. He was consequently escorted by armed personnel from the Nigerian Correctional Service.

    The ICIR reports that the FCT High Court, on November 22, granted Emefiele N300 million bail and two sureties in a similar sum.

    According to the judge, Hamza Muazu, the titles, and certificates of occupancy for the properties held by the sureties must be from within the Maitama District.

    Emefiele was also mandated to stay inside the Abuja Municipal Area Council and deposit his travel documents with the court registrar. He is required to stay at Kuje Correctional Center until he satisfies his bail conditions.

    The ICIR reports that the development came four months after he was granted N20 million bail by the Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos in a different case involving the unlawful possession of weapons.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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