Alleged $4.8b, N2.8b fraud: Emefiele pleads not guilty

Embattled former  Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) Godwin Emefiele was yesterday remanded in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He will remain with  the anti-graft agency till Thursday  when an  Ikeja Special Offences Court in Lagos will rule on his bail application.

Emefiele was arraigned  before Justice Rahman Oshodi on 23 -count  bordering on abuse of office, acceptance of  gratification and  gifts through agents, corruption, and fraudulent property receipt to the tune of $4.8 billion and N2.8 billion.

His co-defendant, Henry Omoile, was remanded in the custody of Nigeria Correctional Services (NCoS), Ikoyi.

Following their not guilty plea, EFCC prosecuting counsel Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN)  asked the court for a trial date .

But the defence lawyer,  Abdulakeem Labi- Lawal,    in two bail  applications, urged  the court  to grant  Emefiele   bail on self – recognisance or in the alternative, on liberal  terms,  pending  the hearing and determination on the case.

Labi-Lawal told the court that his application is backed with 31- paragraph affidavit .

He said that the former CBN boss, who is the first  defendant,   had complied with the bail application, which was given to him by Justice Muazu in his alleged fraud trial case in Abuja.

He said the charges were bailable.

His words:  “Though the first defendant was granted administrative bail by the prosecuting authority, he is seeking for bail based on self -recognisance and he is ready to attend the court.

“The court should also take into  consideration the status of the first  defendant as he was the former  CBN governor of the country for nine years and number one banker of the country.”

Labi-Lawal also  told the court  that the defendant was not a flight risk, stressing that  he   had religiously presented himself before Justice Muazu of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court.

“Even today, he was the first person to arrive in court. This is a clear evidence that the defendant will not abscond from trial.”

Labi-Lawal also moved bail application for the second defendant and  urged the court to grant him bail on liberal terms.

Prosecution counsel  Oyedepo  did not oppose  the  bail  applications moved by the defence counsel.

Oyedepo, however, urged the court to exercise its discretion  in granting  bail  to the  defendants.

He said his decision was in consideration of the order of Justice Adeniyi of Abuja High Court restraining the commission from re-arresting Emefiele  without a  court order.

“While our appeal on that is on-going, the commission will not re-arrest the defendant”, he said.

Oyedepo, however, urged the court to grant the 1st defendant bail conditions that would make him appear for trial at the next adjourned date.

Justice Oshodi adjourned the matter till April 11.

The EFCC, in the charge, alleged that  Emefiele abused the authority of his office as CBN governor by allocating foreign exchange  in the aggregate sum of $2,136,391,737.33 without bids, which act is prejudicial to the rights of Nigerians.”

It added that  between 2020 and 2021  in Lagos, he    allocated    $291,945,785.59  without bids.

The commission also alleged that Emefiele  received   $400,000 from   Source Computer Limited on account of the approval of a contract.

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