EFCC Arraigns Emefiele For Alleged $4.5bn, N2.8bn Fraud


By Anne Osemekeh, Abuja

The Lagos Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has arraigned former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, for an alleged $4.5bn and N2.8bn fraud.

The erstwhile apex bank chief was arraigned on Monday, April 8, 2024, before Justice R.A. Oshodi of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, alongside one Henry Omoile, on an amended 26-count charge.

TheFact Daily reports that the charges against Emefiele border on: alleged abuse of office, contrary and punishable under Section 73 of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2011; accepting gratification, contrary and punishable under Section 8 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000; corrupt demand, contrary and punishable under Section 10 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000; receiving property fraudulently obtained, contrary to and punishable under Section 328 of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2011; and conferring corrupt advantage, contrary to Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.

Omoile was slammed with charges bordering on acceptance of gifts by agents, contrary to Section 65 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015.

Emefiele, according to two charges read against him, allocated foreign exchange in the aggregate sums of $2,136,391,737.33, and $291,945,785.59, between 2022/2023, and 2020/2022 respectively, both without bids, “an act which is prejudicial to the rights of Nigerians”, and an abuse of the authority of his office.

Count five, read against Henry Isioma Omoile, holds that he, in November 2020, “whilst acting as an agent, accepted from Raja Punjab, through Moday Osazuwa, the total sum of $110,000 for Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele, gifts as reward for allocating foreign exchange by the Central Bank of Nigeria in favour of Raja Punjab’s employer.”

They both pleaded “not guilty” to all the charges when they were read to them.

In view of this, prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, prayed the court to grant accelerated hearing “and for us to call our witnesses to prove our case”.

Counsel representing the defendants, A. Labi-Lawal, moved the bail application for Emefiele and urged the court to grant him bail “on self- recognisance” or “on the most liberal terms”, pending the hearing and determination of the case.

In his argument, he gave a background to the case involving Emefiele, being prosecuted by the EFCC, before Justice Muazu of a Federal Capital Territory, FCT High Court, which granted him bail in the sum of N300 million and two sureties in like sum, and which he had met.

Labi-Lawal disclosed that the bail condition confining him to Abuja, pending the trial in Abuja, was later varied, adding that “this is what has enabled him to be in court today. The offence is a bailable one and is not a capital offence. The defendant does not have any criminal record; and his antecedent, at the other matter, where he has dutifully attended trial, shows that he is not a flight risk.”

He further prayed the court that Emefiele “be released to his lawyers pending determination of the bail application”, so he could still attend to other charges against him.

Moving the bail application for Omoile, Labi-Lawal urged the court to grant him bail on most liberal terms pending the hearing and determination of the case.

Justice Oshodi adjourned till April 11, 2024 “for ruling on bail and trial”, and also ordered that Emefiele be remanded in the EFCC custody, while Omoile is remanded at the Ikoyi Correctional Centre.

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