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FG Reduces N6.5bn Fraud Charge Against Emefiele, Strike Stalls Arraignment

The charges, bordering on alleged procurement, were originally 20…

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Godwin Emefiele in court

The Federal Government has reduced to six counts the fraud charges it filed against the immediate-past Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele.

VerseNews learnt that the charges, bordering on alleged procurement, were originally 20.

In the original charge which was filed in August, the Federal Government alleged that the procurement fraud was to the tune of N6.5bn.

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Emefiele was charged alongside a female CBN employee, Sa’adatu Yaro, and her company, April 1616 Investment.

Their arraignment before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja was stalled on two occasions, as the Department of State Services failed to produce Emefiele in court.

Following his release by the DSS and immediate re-arrest by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on October 27, the Federal Government amended the charges against him.

In the amended charge sheet marked CR/577/2023 released on Wednesday, the charges still border on procurement fraud, but the counts have been reduced from 20 to six.

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Also, Emefiele is the only defendant in the new charge after the quantum of the alleged procurement fraud was reduced from N6.9bn to N1.2bn.

The defendants had been scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday, the matter could, however, not proceed due to the ongoing strike by the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress’ strike following an assault on the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, in Imo State on November 1.

Workers in the court told our correspondent who had visited for the matter that no court was sitting.

They said the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria at the Federal Capital Territory High Court had directed them to join the strike.

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Also, our correspondent did not observe the presence of lawyers and litigants on the court premises on Wednesday morning.

In the amended charge sheet, the Federal Government alleged that Emefiele illegally bought 43 vehicles between 2018 and 2020 worth N1.2bn.

The former CBN governor was accused of giving a corrupt advantage to Yaro by awarding a contract for the procurement of 37 Toyota Hilux Vehicles valued at N854m.

Count one read, “That you, Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele, male, adult, sometime in 2018 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 Sa’adatu Ramallan Yaro, a staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria by awarding a contract for the supply of 37 Toyota Hilux Vehicles at the cost of N854,700,000 only to April1616 Investment Ltd, a company in which the said Sa’adatu Ramallan Yaro is a director and thereby committed an offence.”

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In the second count, Emefiele was accused of using his position to corruptly confer an advantage on Yaro, “a staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria by awarding a contract for the supply of one Toyota Avalon at the cost of N99,900,000 only to April1616 Investment Ltd, a company in which the said Sa’adatu Ramallan Yaro Director and thereby committed an offence.”

He was also accused of conferring corrupt advantage contrary to Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000 by awarding a contract for the supply of one Toyota Landcruiser V8 April1616 Investment Ltd., in 2019 at the cost of N73m.

The fourth count was about a Toyota Landcruiser V8 valued N73,800,000 awarded illegally to April 1616 Investment Ltd.

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The FG further accused the former CBN governor of also awarding a contract to Yaro for the supply of two Toyota Hilux Shell Specification Vehicles at the cost of N44,200,000 in 2020.

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