Categories
Default

Nigeria: Court Remands Emefiele in Prison, Adjourns Hearing of Bail Application

The judge adjourned the hearing of Mr Emefiele’s bail application after the former CBN chief entered a not-guilty plea to six counts of corruption on Friday.

The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, has ordered the remand of the immediate-past governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, at the Kuje correctional centre.

The judge, Hamza Muazu, made the order after Mr Emefiele entered his plea during his arraignment on six counts of corruption on Friday.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges instituted against him by the federal government.

The judge then adjourned until 20 November for his bail application.

Amended charges

Mr Emefiele is the sole defendant in the case involving six amended counts of corruption.

Channels Television reports that the original charge, which was 20 counts involving alleged fraudulent N6.5 billion contracts, was reduced to six counts.

The amended case is now alleging N1.6 billion fraud.

The federal government alleged in the case that Mr Emefiele illegally bought 43 vehicles between 2018 and 2020 worth N1.2 billion.

It also accused him of awarding a contract for the procurement of 37 Toyota Hilux Vehicles valued at N854 million.

Apart from the reduction in the number of counts, the prosecution has also reduced the number of defendants to only Mr Emefiele.

In the old charge, Sa’adatu Ramallan-Yaro, a CBN staff member, and her company, April 1616 Investment Limited, were charged along with the former central bank chief.

Mr Emefiele and Mrs Ramalan-Yaro were accused of conspiracy and procurement fraud involving as much as N6.9 billion.

The charges alleged that Mr Emefiele conferred corrupt advantages on Ms Ramalan-Yaro, using her firm, April 1616 Investment Limited, to execute several procurement contracts spanning years.

The government alleged that the defendants committed the offences by awarding contracts to Mrs Ramalan-Yaro’s company for the supply of cars.

The defendants, allegedly through the corrupt transactions, purchased a fleet of about 100 posh vehicles and armoured buses worth about N6.9 billion.

The alleged corrupt transactions took place between 2018 and 2020, according to the charges.

Background

Mr Emefiele was removed from office over corruption allegations on 9 June.

He was arrested by the State Security Service (SSS) on 10 June. The SSS detained him for months until it recently transferred his custody to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Altogether, Mr Emefiele spent five months in detention.

He regained his freedom after a judge of the FCT High Court, Olukayode Adeniyi, granted him bail on 8 November.

While he was in custody, in July, the SSS arraigned him on two counts of “illegal possession” of firearms and live ammunition at the Federal High Court, Lagos.

After arraigning him on the two charges on 25 July, the SSS withdrew the charges in August.

Based on SSS investigations, the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, again, charged the former central bank chief with N6.9 billion in corruption charges at the FCT High Court in Abuja in August.

But the arraignment was rescheduled on different occasions, a development that triggered speculations that Mr Emefiele was in plea bargain talks with the government over the charges filed against him.

Earlier this month, the AGF, Lateef Fagbemi, denied signing any plea agreement with Mr Emefiele, which tallied with an earlier exclusive disclosure by an official of the Federal Ministry of Justice to PREMIUM TIMES that such plea agreement was not yet on the table.

The arraignment finally took place on Friday.

Leave a Reply